Toyota makes it betterToyota has suffered several black eyes in the news, a massive recall in the US and subsequently in Canada of Toyota and Lexus cars and light trucks to fix an accelerator pedal problem, a recall of Tundra Pickup trucks in the US because of excessive rust on the frames and 6 Highlanders with ‘immobilizer technology’ stolen in a single night in one neighborhood in Toronto.

A recent article published  in the Los Angeles times called

Toyota’s image dented again by latest recall

and republished in the Toronto Star at implies that Toyota has sacrificed its legendary quality to become #1 in sales.

Recalls are not that unusual in the car industry but Toyota has bragged about how few of them they had compared with others. But this past week, Toyota  recalled over 4 million Toyota and Lexus cars and light trucks in the US to fix an accelerator pedal problem that could cause runaway acceleration. But they didn’t announce the recall in Canada until 1 day later, leaving Canadian customers wondering. Toyota had announced an ‘alert’ on their website in September, telling customers to remove the driver’s side floor mats from seven models. But is that really acceptable? They took 2 months to decide to do a recall? The recall is for 8 Toyota and Lexus models over multiple years including the  Camry and Prius hybrid.

Earlier this week, Toyota recalled 110,000  2000 – 2003 Tundra Pickup trucks in the US because of excessive rust on the frames, that could cause a spare tire to fall off.

In 2005, Toyota had to recall 2.3 million calls with problems like steering defects in some pick up trucks and SUVs and a software glitch that could cause  the  Prius to stall.

On the same day as the US recall was reported in the newspaper, an article also appeared in the Toronto Star that 6 Toyota Highlanders were stolen in the same neighborhood on the same night. They all had immobilizers built into them. The Insurance Bureau of Canada is now concerned that thieves have broken Toyota’s security code. No one knows how these cars were stolen and investigation is underway but if the code has been broken, watch for more car thefts.

The implications in the newspaper articles about these events is that perhaps Toyota, in its drive to become #1 in the Auto industry dropped its guard on reliability and quality.

Do you think this will have a long term impact on Toyota’s customer satisfaction and repeat buyers?


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

5 Responses to “Toyota’s Reputation damaged – Recall and Compromised Theft Protection”

  1. Toyota's Reputation damaged – Recall and Compromised Theft … | Management Business Wisdom Says:

    […] Go here to see the original: Toyota's Reputation damaged – Recall and Compromised Theft … […]

  2. Frank Brinkman Says:

    The Toyota stories recently in the media read like the American auto makers of 10 to 15 years ago. The media image that is being played out is contradictory to the persona Toyota has carefully crafted. Many consumers are watching this saga play out. I, like others have changed or are likely to change my perception of Toyota. The arrogance of rejecting customers version of that the gas pedal and rug werre not the cause of the problem will come back to haunt Toyota.

    Other companies have the similar attitude of; “Prove there is something wrong with our product and we will take action.” These companies regularly “eat crow.” Each time this occurs they damage their reputation to the point that clients no longer believes them. This is true even when they have checked the problem out thoroughly and determined the problem was not their product’s problem. Yet, because of their damaged reputation they are now required to prove where the problem exists in Vendor “x”‘s product to save the sale and convince their client the problem was not in their product.

    I found it humorous when the client agrees the problem is not in the product then applies pressure on sales and development organizations forcing them to work with Vendor “x” who had the problem and fix the problem. The original action of denying any problem exists detracts from the clients preception of quality, commitment to support, and most importantly trust. This action also impacts more sales, support, and development expense over a period of years. Client Relationships are built upon trust.

    Toyota by their actions are impacting the their valued commodity of consumer trust. This tangible value will have it’s impact upon sales of the coming years.. It will be interesting to continue to follow their sales as compared to other manufacturers to determine if this translates into market share changes.

    This “Prove it is my problem before I will take responsibility” attitude has to be eliminated in order for customer satisfaction to have a chance to succeed. I believe it is cheaper to be responsive to clients and investigate the possible problem. I would go further and state that development organizations would do well to have agreements with other vendors that produce inter-relating or component products to cooperatively investigate and resolve issues that impact the effiency of the combined product. These cross vendor agreements will reduce support costs and shorten problem resolution time for the growing number of complex problems clients are experiencing.

    Rather than denial, acceptance of a possible problem is seen as an organization proactively pursuing resolution of any problem. These builds confidence and trust in their products rather than detracts from quality.

  3. Toyota Recall | All celebrities online Says:

    […] Toyota's Reputation damaged – Recall and Compromised Theft … […]

  4. Huw Says:

    I recently found out Toyota is definitely recalling 2.4 million vehicles due to gas pedal troubles . My uncle owns one, can the vehicle be driven before it’s fixed?

  5. Adele Says:


    Toyota implies that customers can drive their cars until they are repaired. They also imply that if the customer has a problem, he or she should take it to a dealer. In short, Toyota is not confirming or denying that the cars can be driven.

    I do not have any recommendation on this matter.


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