Toyota Slow to Manage Risk

Consumer trust in the quality of Toyota products suffered greatly after several reports of unintended acceleration, sticking pedals and incompatible floor mats. It is the company’s slow response to these issues, however, that really worsened public perception of the crisis.

In an article on the Japan Times website, Hiroko Nakata says experts have called the set of complex factors that escalated the Toyota crisis a “perfect storm.” The political mood in the U.S., as well as the U.S. government’s plan to bail out General Motors Co. and overreaction by the U.S. media certainly didn’t help Toyota when increasing complaints about its vehicles culminated in a tragic crash and subsequent recall of millions of cars. But the company’s “delay in zeroing in on the problem from the very beginning” made things worse, said the article.

The issues date as far back as 2004, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating unintended acceleration problems in the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES. Massive U.S. recalls started in October, 2009 but company president Akio Toyoda didn’t make a public statement until January, 2010 when he was “spotted and asked for a comment by a Japanese TV crew in Davos, Switzerland,” Nakata writes.

To read the Japan Times article, click here: