Toyota can bounce back
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?
Would you take a Tylenol now? Seems like a silly question -- after all, Tylenol is a leading brand of pain reliever and is commonly used by hospitals.
But a few decades ago, the answer would have been much different. In the fall of 1982, bottles of Extra-Strength Tylenol were tampered with and contained capsules that were laced with potassium cyanide. Seven people died as a result, and the public panicked. Sales of Tylenol dipped from 35 percent of market share to 8 percent.
Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, not only recovered, but it rebounded quickly. How? The company was honest with the public from the beginning and staged a massive recall. It switched from capsules to solid caplets and began triple-sealing its bottles. A vigorous promotional campaign also sought to restore public confidence in the Tylenol brand.
This is a formula that Toyota must follow. First, it must fix the problem. What Toyota needs to do in engineering is probably easy enough. Next, the company must reassure the public. Putting these problems behind it will require strong and steady public relations moves augmented by an open and honest advertising campaign. And, of course, like Tylenol, Toyota must back up its public relations with solid performance, which will take time.
Would I buy a Toyota? I drive a 2007 Pontiac Vibe, made in California by the United Auto Workers. The Vibe is actually a Toyota Corolla with a station wagon body. I would be happy to buy another one--I just wish Pontiac were still around.
Posted by: 27anon72 | March 1, 2010 8:51 PM
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