• White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • LinkedIn - White Circle

LET'S

TALK

Washington, DC
1342 Florida Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009
202.339.6060
New York
777 3rd Ave.
33rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
212.702.8777
Santa Monica
501 Santa Monica Blvd.
Suite 600
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.775.2601
Denver
999 18th St.
Suite 2105N
Denver, CO 80202
303.928.8400

© 2019 by Benenson Strategy Group

The Toyota Recall Crisis

Business Challenge

 

At the end of 2009, Toyota was a clear and differentiated leader in the auto industry. Yet, within months, it had to recall over 8 million vehicles worldwide to address issues of “unintended acceleration,” suspend production of some of its most popular models, testify before Congress, and face the national limelight. Analysts estimated that costs from its recall crisis would top $5 billion and sales slid by 16 percent.

Action

 

Toyota turned to BSG for help navigating its recall crisis, which struck at the heart of its brand identity as the leader in safety and reliability. Led by its crisis and issue management team, BSG immediately conducted a brand risk assessment and messaging study to develop a recovery plan.

Specifically, BSG:

  • Conducted an issue awareness and impact study, followed by tri-weekly tracking polls.

  • Rigorously tested messages and communications among key audiences.

  • Developed a communications blueprint to help Toyota leverage its strongest attributes while also identifying new messaging opportunities.

  • Developed and co-implemented a Brand Reputation Rebuilding Strategy that drew upon BSG’s multi-phased research program that uncovered the underlying drivers of opinion across a series of key stakeholders.

  • Assessed consumers’ attitudes and found that stakeholders felt a sense of “betrayal.” It was Toyota—the company, not the vehicles—that suffered the greatest erosion.

  • Discovered through research that regaining trust was going to take time and effort, but with the right message and actions, trust could be rebuilt.

Results

 

  • Since the recall, Toyota has regained its position as the world’s best-selling car manufacturer, becoming the first to sell 10 million vehicles within a 12-month period.

  • Based on our strategic insights, Toyota continued leveraging quality, durability, and reliability to help drive corporate reputation; addressed safety in a forward-looking way; and added a “humanistic” dimension to consumers’ image of auto companies.

  • BSG continues to serve as a top strategic partner for Toyota and is instrumental in corporate reputation 
    rebuilding efforts and communication strategies.

BenensonLogo.png