Virginia Bianco-Mathis
University professor, author

Virginia Bianco-Mathis

Business department chair of management programs at Marymount University and author of two books on executive coaching.


Killer floormats

Q: The once admired carmaker is reeling from revelations about uncontrolled acceleration and the recall of millions of vehicles. Can the company ever regain its renown for quality and its aura of success? Is success always linked to reputation? Would you buy a Toyota now?

"The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection."

Toyota's motto for its flagship Lexus brand set a very high standard for quality and reliability. But somewhere along the way to becoming the top automotive manufacturer in the world, Toyota's mission became the relentless pursuit of profits. Its reputation for being customer focused has been belied by its response to the crisis of its runaway cars.

Customers' complaints were routinely ignored, government regulators were persuaded to abandon investigations and absurd reasons were given for obvious problems -- attack of the killer floormats! Not until a professional driver -- a California highway patrolman -- was killed along with three passengers in a runaway Lexus crash caught on tape did Toyota even admit there may be a larger problem.

Now Toyota's executives have offered repeated apologies but have not admitted wrongdoing and have continued to claim that customers always come first. They have also had an attack of convenient memories. Consequently, Toyota's reputation has been sullied and its future success is in doubt.

Until Toyota fully acknowledges its mistakes and demonstrates a new commitment to its customers, it will never be as successful as it was just a short time ago.

By Virginia Bianco-Mathis  |  March 1, 2010; 12:02 AM ET  | Category:  Recovering from failure Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A test of greatness | Next: A fine carmaker


Please report offensive comments below.

How many complaints have been lodged against BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW, Jaguar? Toyota recalls a bunch. Honda recalls a bunch for airbags. Nissan has recalled 200000 for airbags.

Posted by: EliPeyton | March 1, 2010 9:03 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Is Outragex the only one that thinks the vehicles could/should have been taken out of gear in a several mile/minute incident?

Has anyone ever heard of a book called: "Unsafe At Any Speed" by Ralph Nader?

Posted by: jpslon1 | March 1, 2010 2:58 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Excellent summary of Toyota - their rotten attitude toward customers has been going on for years. 'Bout time folks got the facts, not only regarding Toyota, but also NHTSA.

Re "Killer floormats," my 1/17/2010 blog post is titled "Floor mat attacks Avalon by remote control"

Posted by: ParrisBoyd | March 1, 2010 2:42 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company