Toyota’s not alone in its brand problems, but the recall doesn’t help

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

2 February 2010

Would you buy a Toyota?  Not a chance.

If I were Toyota, I would brace myself for a serious erosion of its sales. Why? Well not simply because of the recall affecting millions of cars. I would prepare myself for a sales drop due to a mediocre brand promise that says Toyota is only about reliability and craftsmanship.

We see the same exact issue affecting fast food pizza — pizza chains think they can own the mind of consumers by telling us to choose based on what should be the lowest common denominator in the category.  For pizza, it is a battle over “tastes pretty good” (read my recent blog on Domino’s) and for automobiles it is “reliability.”

Answer me this, aside from getting place-to-place, why else would you buy any car? Would anyone actually buy a car they thought was unreliable?

It is no wonder the automobile industry is in such a shambles. Major manufacturers like Ford, GM, Nissan, Honda, VW, Chrysler and Toyota believe they can differentiate themselves by such mundane promises. Promises that should be the minimum requirements to be a manufacturer in the first place.

I would suggest that the automobile industry stop the myopic view of their brands and spend a bit of time and energy in figuring out just what their potential customers aspire to become and own if any of them want to actually steal market share from their competitors (read about a CEO’s role in all of this), build brand preference and increase sales.

Shame on Toyota for thinking that we all aspire to realize basic promises and mediocrity.  Would I buy a Toyota since the recall? I would hope that any car I buy would be at a minimum — reliable. If Toyota promises me only that, no, I won’t buy one because they let me down.

I’d like to think I deserve more than being treated like an imbecile.

See more posts in the following related categories: Automotive Industry Chevy CHRYSLER FORD GM NISSAN Toyota Toyota Recall

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