Automaker’s lackadaisical crisis management creates continued catastrophe
If it feels like the folks at Toyota been recalling cars for the past three years, well, that’s because they have. In yet another addition to the lengthy series of recalls, some 7.4 million+ Toyotas have been recalled because of a faulty power window switch that has the potential to start a fire.
The downright silly part of this recall is that many of the vehicles involved this time were previously recalled for sticky gas pedals and dangerous floor mats in 2009 and ’10, AFTER Toyota first learned of the switch issue.
That’s right, according to a Bloomberg News article by Angela Keane, Toyota HQ had knowledge of the switch issue back in 2008:
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) first learned in 2008 about a defect in power-window switches that this week prompted it to recall 7.43 million vehicles worldwide for fire hazards, according to documents filed with U.S. regulators.
Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, received a report in September 2008 from the U.S. about “an unusual smell” from the power-window master switch and “thermal damage” to the switch, the company said in a report posted yesterday on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
We talked about Toyota learning from the beating its reputation took after the first wave, but have execs at the beleaguered company really learned anything? After the initial recalls incident reports and the vehicles themselves should have been gone over with a fine-toothed comb. ALL of the existing issues should have been compiled, and one massive recall would have swatted the issue. It would have been a great (albeit costly) opportunity to prove that Toyota did care, and was committed to making a quality product – a fact that would have helped solidify the automaker’s position as a trusted brand.
Instead of taking the crisis management approach, Toyota appears to have not-too-discreetly chosen to try to sweep as many problems as possible under the rug. At this point Toyota’s brand is in serious trouble, and it’s going to hit the company where it hurts – right in the profits.
The BCM Blogging Team