TORRANCE, CA – In the wake of the recent massive recall of Toyota vehicles, the Toyota Motor Corporation is facing an uphill climb to try to convince consumers that they should buy the beleaguered company’s cars. This is the case even as worries mount that more bad news may be ahead.
Now the world’s largest automobile maker has begun airing a television commercial aimed at restoring confidence in its vehicles.
The release of the recent TV spot comes at the end of a week of by-the-book crisis management that includes TV appearances by some of its top executives.
The TV commercial opens with 1960s era photos of what is now Toyota of Hollywood, and is set in a mood that engenders trust between dealer and customer. The narrator says, “In recent days our company hasn’t been living up to the standards that you expect from us, or that we expect from ourselves,” and goes on to say “We’re working around the clock to make sure we build vehicles of the highest quality — to restore your faith in our company.”
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The new TV spot is just one of Toyota’s marketing efforts to reach consumers. The company has also taken out banner ads on hundreds of websites and is also running PSA-style radio commercials in an effort to direct people to its website for information on the recalls.
Toyota launched its recent marketing drive not a minute too soon because there are indications that some customers may be steering clear of Toyota vehicles. This is bad news for Toyota. This state of affairs is supported by the fact that since the most recent recall was announced last month, January’s new-car sales were down and Kelley Blue Book is now saying that the number of people looking at buying a Toyota has dropped by a third.
The Kelley Blue Book website allows a person who is looking for a new car to search the site and contact a dealership to request a quote. Analyst James Bell said that the day before Toyota announced its latest recall, the number of requests for new cars from Toyota dealers dropped off significantly.
Last month, Toyota did report a drop in sales of its new cars, but it is not clear if this was due to the recent recalls. At that time dealers had been ordered not to sell several models for part of the month so that can account for some lessening of demand. Toyota is offering a $1,000 incentive to buy a new Prius, and it is expected that it will also offer discounts for other vehicle models.
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