Plots and Thoughts

Toyota Loses Their Brand (Deservedly)

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on February 21, 2010

A newly released internal memo from Toyota crows about saving millions of dollars by delaying and obstructing safety regulations and measures.

Toyota said in a statement: “Our first priority is the safety of our customers and to conclude otherwise on the basis of one internal presentation is wrong. Our values have always been to put the customer first and ensure the highest levels of safety and quality.”

Wrong.  Toyota’s values were based on safety and quality.  That’s pretty much Toyota’s entire brand in a nutshell.  Given that these same defects have cost lives, and the memos detail deliberate moves to obstruct or delay safety measures to secure higher profits, that brand is now dead.

Toyota, by first choosing to put profits ahead of safety, and then choosing to lie rather than accept responsibility, is crushing whatever trust they have remaining.  The above statement is so clearly false and self-serving.  How can we believe anything the company says now?

Toyota climbed to its current position in auto sales by a hard earned reputation for delivering safe cars that lasted.  Its clear they chose to coast on that reputation at the expense of consumers.  What a shameful thing to do.  The publicity, hearings and court cases sure to come are going to have a powerful impact on their brand and their sales.  And it looks like it is well deserved on their part.

A lesson for any company: putting your brand on the line is never worth the risk.

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