In an interesting turn of events this week, Toyota has announced to the public and their dealers that they will be halting production and sales of eight popular models. This news has been blowing up all over the news feeds, including NPR’s All Things Considered and The Wall Street Journal. The reaction so far has been in a word—shock.
2010 Toyota Camry

2010 Toyota Camry

Toyota is the No. 1 car company in the world and it also is the No. 1 in the U.S. (as it surpassed GM in 2008), so shock is probably an appropriate response. Let’s us get to the real meat of the latest news coming from Toyota that has caused them to suspend sales due to sticking accelerator pedals. Models that are affected include:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

I know what you are thinking and it is the same thing that the PR department for Toyota is thinking—WHOA that is a lot of cars. The thing we can learn from this is that Toyota is doing the write thing by suspending production and sales. However, the thing that will probably hurt them is a somewhat defiant view that since it is a rare occurrence that everyone should still be feel safe to drive.On NPR a spokesperson for Toyota said that people should continue to drive their cars, as she will also be driving home in a 2010 Toyota Camry. That sentiment is a little hard for the average driver to digest, especially when we are looking at some where close to 2 million vehicles. Some of the aforementioned vehicles are also a part of the 4.2 million vehicles recalled for floor mats last year.

Bottom line—Anyone in marketing and PR knows that having multiple recalls directly related to safety can seriously hurt a car company’s credibility. This is especially true when they can’t tell you what the problem is, which is the case in the latest recall from Toyota. Toyota doesn’t want to have to recover from a Pinto like recall scenario.

[Source: USA Today & NPR All Things Considered ]