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Media consensus: Toyota has an image problem

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Media consensus: Toyota has an image problem

Automotive News -- February 1, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

Toyota's decision to halt U.S. sales of eight models with potentially faulty accelerator pedals made global headlines. Excerpts from news coverage:

-- "A further dent in Toyota's image," The Asahi Shimbun, Japan, Jan. 29

Damage from the loss of consumer confidence is expected to hurt Japan's largest automaker, which has long prided itself on the high quality of its cars. Public opinion in the United States is unlikely to turn back quickly in Toyota's favor, with major newspapers carrying front-page stories about the sales and production halts.

-- "Toyota's image ills long-term: experts," Japan Times, Japan, Jan. 29

Toyota Motor Corp.'s accelerator-pedal problem is unlikely to have much of an impact on its bottom line this year, but the damage to its image will undermine it in the long term, analysts said.

-- "Toyota stalls, The Financial Times, England, Jan. 28

The recall is a bloody nose for Toyota, but the larger issue is how the recently crowned top global carmaker can reconcile gains in market share and profits with quality. Other mass-market manufacturers that long considered Toyota a benchmark have in many cases equaled or exceeded it.

-- "Rapid growth has its perils, Toyota learns," The New York Times, Jan. 28

"Toyota managed to win bragging rights as the world's biggest car company. But that focus on rapid growth appears to have come at a cost to its reputation for quality, creating an opportunity for others to potentially take back market share."

-- "Toyota's president worried about company reputation on quality," The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 28

"Toyota Motor Corp.'s drastic sales halt in the United States is a nightmare come true for Akio Toyoda, who took the helm last year at the world's largest automaker, founded by his grandfather. ... How Mr. Toyoda will steer Toyota through its latest crisis -- now threatening the reputation of a company that has long been viewed as the leader in automotive quality -- will likely decide his legacy at his namesake company."

-- "Toyota in race to save its image," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28

How well the Japanese automaker responds may determine whether it can avoid the inexorable trends that eventually sent former industry leader General Motors into bankruptcy last year -- an aging customer base and a seeming inability to tackle quality issues squarely.

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