How Toyota engineered its own downfall

Itwould normally be unforgivable to mock someone difficulties in English. But the fact that Mr Toyoda, who earned an MBA in the US, had not been drilled in a word-perfect English apology says much about Toyota sub-quality response to its recall crisis. In Japan, the apology, like ikebana and haiku, is an art form. Yet as recently as last Friday, when the Toyota chief made his tangled mea culpa, the company was still failing to address the concerns of its customers, 70 per cent of whom live outside Japan.

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It would normally be unforgivable to mock someone difficulties in English. But the fact that Mr Toyoda, who earned an MBA in the US, had not been drilled in a word-perfect English apology says much about Toyota sub-quality response to its recall crisis. In Japan, the apology, like ikebana and haiku, is an art form. [Read the full article]

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Automotive recalls seem to be all the rage. At a time when attention has been focused on Toyota Motors recall over sticky gas pedals and brake issues in several of its models, Honda Motor is making headlines after adding 437,000 vehicles to its 15-month-old global recall for faulty air bags. Honda Motor ( HMC – news – people ), Japans second largest automaker, first announced the recall in the fall of 2008. Since then, the list of vehicles in question has grown significantly to approach one million with the latest additions. The recall affects thousands of cars under the Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V brands, and others, in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and elsewhere in Asia. The North American recall was announced Tuesday and followed Wednesday by the recall in Asia. Honda said it will replace recalled vehicles’ driver-side air bag inflator because the force of their deployment can cause the inflator to break. [Read the full article]

THE PAIN: Buyers who would have looked at Toyota vehicles are now considering other brands after the automaker’s series of safety recalls.

THE GAIN: Analysts from Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com and J.D. Power say Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Chevrolet are grabbing Toyota customers, based on sales tracking data and surveys on their Web sites. Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen are also getting upticks in buyer interest.

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WHAT’S NEXT: It’s tough to know the long-term impact of Toyota’s recalls, and whether the automaker will regain its share if it starts offering sales incentives. [Read the full article]

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