Toyota Recalls (A): Hitting the Skids
In the fall of 2009, Toyota Motor Corporation, once revered for its commitment to quality and reliability, faced a highly publicized series of recalls in the United States representing approximately a year's worth of sales in one of its most important markets. While the first Toyota recall was met with widespread disbelief but continuing support for the brand, subsequent revelations and recalls tested the brand's resilience in the U.S. The firm's initial public response to the problems - a mixture of silence from top executives and vague, misleading public statements - frustrated U.S. government officials and the public. Not until weeks after the news first broke did Toyota organize a clear message around its commitment to return to quality. In late February 2010 Toyota President Akio Toyoda reluctantly accepts an invitation to testify to the U.S. Congress, 148 days after the first recall announcement. He has to decide what to say.