We are all hoping that “the car in front is a Toyota”……you would not want it behind you!

February 4, 2010

ToyotaToyota are to recall 8 million vehicles due to problems with uintended acceleration, which will lead to uintended deceleration in the company’s fortunes and progress, with a projected massive $30 billion drop in the company’s share value.

The impact in terms of lost sales for Toyota is estimated to be in the region of $2 billion in the next quarter. However the damage to Toyota’s reputation is potentially inestimable, and whilst car sales and profits will almost certainly recover, there is no guarantee that the global public’s confidence in the manufacturer will return!!

Although the play on words surrounding Toyota’s slogan in the title of this article may appear to be flippant, it highlights a very serious issue: brand reputation and image is everything. Brand reputation is like confidence – it can take years to build, and yet can be lost overnight!!

Toyota only recently reached the summit of the car sales mountain, overtaking General Motors in the last year. However no amount of grappling irons will ensure that in the future Toyota will fly the flag from the summit of the mountain, in terms of manufacturer and brand reliability.

Trust and integrity are intrinsic to any brand, and of course in the case of a car manufacturer, safety is paramount.  As Gerald Ratner learned to his cost, a successful high street jewellery retail brand can be lost in one afternoon if the brand is not constantly nurtured and protected!  Undoubtedly Toyota’s mechanics worldwide will be doing plenty of overtime in the coming weeks, but the Toyota marketeers and public relations gurus will need to put in triple overtime for many years to come.

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