The paper "Analysis of Toyota Communication " is a great example of a business case study. Since late 2009, Toyota has experienced several incidences of mass car recalls. The most severe crisis was in 2010 where more than 9 million vehicles were recalled after the 2009 fatal crash in the USA (Victor L. H., & John R. D., 2012. Toyota has been able to gain success in the automotive market due to its reputation for high-quality cars. Once the crisis struck, the company's previous good reputation was threatened. The company brand image which had taken centuries to build was at stake (Dawar & Lei, 2009).
Safety recalls are an occurrence in the automotive market and the way they are handled have a great impact on the industry. The sequential occurrence of the incidences of vehicle recalls at Toyota is a major problem to its quality brand. Toyota has been known to be a manufacturer of high-quality vehicles and recent safety recalls of its vehicles are a major threat. As Toyota faced the safety recall crisis, they used crisis communication with the aim of saving their brand image.
This essay will look at Toyota's communication as they handled the mass car recall crisis with most emphasis on the 2010 incident. In 2009, a major incident occurred when a Toyota Lexus was involved in a fatal crash and led to the death of four family members (Los Angeles Times, 2009). The fatal crash was highly publicized and it was later identified that Toyota vehicles had an acceleration problem. This was the beginning of the company's mass recall problems. In 2010, Toyota recalled 9 million vehicles on its website due to acceleration problems (Stewart, 2010).
The company made its first mistake due to a delayed response to the crisis. The company action after the crisis led to more suspicion. The official communication given appeared defensive. This has led to the company losing its market share while rivals are catching up. In 2012, Toyota recalled 7.43 million vehicles globally due to a power window problem that could lead to fire risk. The automotive manufacturer had to recall 2.5 million vehicles in the United States, 1.4 million vehicles in Europe and China, 500,000 in Middle East 450,000 in Japan, and 650,000 in Australia (Charles, 2012).
This made the recall a global problem due to its span. Toyota took to crisis management through communication especially in the countries affected. Internet and media have been a major threat to organizational reputation when faced with a scandal. When a scandal arises, a lot of stakeholders are affected. Stakeholders learn about the crisis through media and the internet. The main issue arises due to the fact that journalists may sensationalize a story with the aim of attracting more readers (Victor & John, 2012).
This was seen in the case of Toyota recalls. The incident made headlines with claims that the automaker had been compromising quality at the expense of mass production. The first step that Toyota did was identifying the issues that were leading to reputational risks and how to resolve them (Victor & John, 2012). Toyota's apologies were too late and occurred only after much blame by mass media and authorities. The communication given by the company public relations stated that the recall was voluntary and was just a safety precaution.
Later, the company US president apologized and admitted that the company was embarrassed by the recalls as they dented their image and reputation on vehicle safety (Victor & John, 2012). Despite the apologies and recalls, the incidents continued to happen among other vehicles manufactured by the company. This led to stakeholders suspecting that Toyota had more issues they were not addressing. The incident forced the company CEO Akio Toyoda to give a public apology through a press release and a video (Reuters, 2010).
In the video, he was remorseful as he made the apology. He promised all stakeholders that he would lead a safety task force with the aim of improving the quality of their vehicles. He also asserted that Toyota was to put the customer first in their design (Reuters, 2010).
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