Toyota Implements New Marketing Strategies to Restore Consumer Trust and Overhaul the Company’s Image
This paper explores the various marketing strategies undertaken by Japanese automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation to restore consumer trust and overhaul the company’s image in response to a 10 million worldwide vehicle recall in 2010. The recalled vehicles were the result of an influx of acceleration-related accidents for which Toyota faced hundreds of lawsuits (Jacobs & Chase, 2013). Naturally, the large number of recalls and lawsuits threatened to tarnish the company’s image. Thus, in an effort to repair Toyota’s persona, the company overhauled its total quality management (TQM) programs implementing several new marketing strategies which included global advertising campaigns, technological developments, quality and safety-related reforms (Kozaki, Oura &Amasaka, 2012). Specifically, one of the first new marketing initiatives included an international computer database with the capability to track all Toyota automobile repairs and decrease the customer complaint reporting times from months to days (Jacobs & Chase, 2013). Moreover, Toyota adjusted the company’s advertising strategy by completely eliminating national advertising campaigns that promoted its cars for dependability, safety, and reliability. The automaker also reorganized its just-in-time (JIT) and Toyota production system (TPS) production processes (Amasaka, 2009). Toyota named a new managing director to revamp and oversee all safety-related concerns. The company also established Swift Market Analysis Response Teams (SMART), rapid response teams responsible for tracking down safety defects and determining the cause of accidents in the United States and internationally (Jacobs & Chase, 2013). It is essential that Toyota utilize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis going forward to accurately analyze the current state of the company after the recall disaster. Keywords: marketing strategies, recall, total quality management Toyota Implements New Marketing Strategies to Restore Consumer Trust and Overhaul the Company’s Image
For decades, Toyota has set the standard in the automotive industry for vehicle quality and reliability. Known nationwide for its commitment to quality production, Toyota successfully created a manufacturing philosophy called the Toyota Way, which emphasized product development and eliminated waste for the company (Kiley, 2007). Among the important principles of the Toyota Way were long- term planning, marketers working to locate and solve problems, and creating a corporate culture that encouraged continuous improvement (Kiley, 2007). Thanks largely to the success of the Toyota Way, in 2008 Toyota became the leading automobile manufacturer in the world. Experts long recognized that Toyota Motor Corporation, founded in 1936, was one of the most elite manufacturing companies in the world (Cusumano, 2011). In an article review Cusumano (2011) stated that over the past 70 years, Toyota had developed distinctive proficiencies in the areas of quality control, manufacturing, supply chain management, product engineering, and sales and marketing. However, in recent years the company has been struggling to combat the negative effects of the 10 million vehicle recall in 2010, as well as the hundreds of accompanying lawsuits (Jacobs & Chase, 2013). According to Tom Sakuragi, chief executive of a Japanese-based automotive research consulting firm, Toyota has been caught between a need to reduce costs and the need to improve product quality (Jacobs & Chase, 2013). This paper examines what Toyota has done in response to its quality recall problems as well as what steps the company should take to repair its image and prevent a recurrence of the mistakes that lead to the most recent recall disaster.
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