Toyota has decided to shift its marketing focus to include a message of safety, in order to combat a still bruised image stemming from the company’s recent recall troubles. Toyota is the only manufacturer to currently show a decline in sales for 2010, and executives believe it is due to poor safety and quality perception, despite the company’s long running reputation for just the opposite. Since November, more than 12 million vehicles worldwide have been recalled, including 10 million in the US.
General Manager of Toyota Division Bob Carter points out that consumers are extremely forgiving of poor perception in the areas of handling value and performance, but not safety. Bill Fay, who recently took over as Toyota group VP of marketing will be addressing the issue in his campaign which will feature the Star Safety System, but beyond that, executives are very tight lipped.
“We’re going to evolve from kind-of apologizing to being a bit more confident and reassuring in the QDR [quality, durability and reliability] that got us this far,” Fay said in an interview. Fay also said that he expects the campaign to run well into 2011, and create a foundation for the future of Toyota marketing, as they really have a serious message that they need to convey here.
– By: Stephen Calogera