During the summer of 2009, there was an off-duty patrol officer Mark Saylor who was traveling on the interstate in Santee, California with three other family members also with him. All of a sudden his driving suddenly accelerates out of control and hits another car, his car (2009 Lexus ES350) then tumbles down an embankment and catches fire. When the car was accelerating to speeds of more than 100 mph, someone called 911 to report that they had no breaks, and during the crash all four were killed. On November 2, 2009, Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles because of floor mats that trapped accelerator pedals, followed by an additional 400,000 vehicle recall four weeks later (Evans, 2009).
With this Crisis the CEO, Akio Toyoda delegated the task of reassuring American consumers to executives of the company that was already in the United States, instead of him doing it himself. James Lentz, the president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales, was the leader, he was delegated to reassure the American’s that the company had developed a fix for accelerator pedals that could stick in 2.3 million recalled vehicles (Tabuchi, 2009). When the first complaints came in Toyota they did not know how to handle them. Lentz, went on the Today Show and according to Business Insider looked like a “deer in headlights.” The CEO Akio Toyoda waited weeks for issuing an apology and he only did so after being cornered by a reporter. After Lentz spoke on the Today Show the amount of people that would not buy a Toyota went from 37% to 56% (Kaleb, 2012). Since Lentz went on the Today Show it brought questions to why Toyoda was unavailable to address the crisis, Lentz than seemed to be the leader of solving this crisis. Paul Argenti; professor of corporate communications at the Tuck School of Business at Darmouth stated “I am shocked at how badly they have handled this, you would expect a company of this size and stature to roll out a plan to repair problems that have the...
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