Best practices = brake problems? C’mon Toyota

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

3 February 2010

Toyota – Another bullet with Prius brake problems.

Looks like Toyota Prius is having some brake problems and this is BIG news? It is news only because Toyota pretended to own “best practices” in the auto industry and built its brand on what should be the minimum requirement to be an automobile manufacturer — quality.

You cannot OWN as a brand, something that is directly attributed to every manufacturer in a category. Does anyone who buys a NISSAN believe the NISSAN automaker does not make a quality product? Does Honda? Does Ford? Well, OK, maybe GM… but that is about it.

Think where Toyota would be right now if its brand was built on “smart” instead of “quality?” It would then have permission to proactively recall cars in an attempt to help the “smart” purchasers of Toyota cars avert a potential problem. Now I am not suggesting that “smart” is the correct brand promise for Toyota or even GM, for that matter.  What I am saying is that brand promises should be built around a customer definition and not simply around a description of the manufacturer. What that promise should be is only found by applying the principles for stealing market share.

The auto industry is a low bar when it comes to branding to win. Shame on any of them for continuing to stick their heads in a hole.

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