Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota is a company steeped in values, traditions, and a revered work ethic in its corporate culture among its officials and employees. It is guided by a code of conduct that seeks to create a “harmonious and lively work environment” in all its corporate offices, manufacturing sites, and affiliate companies. Japanese management style is a firm believer of the workplace being an extension of family life, hence, Toyota promotes a working environment where harmonious, friendly, and long-term relationships exist among its workers.Toyota manufactured vehicles have a reputation for high-quality and excellent workmanship. This reputation, however, was put on the line, when safety issues led to a massive recall of vehicles unprecedented in the entire auto industry of the world. The situation became worse when crisis management communications failed to shore up the confidence of the general public on the way management has responded to the controversy.How did Toyota’s corporate communication activities handle the recall crisis of 2010? As compiled and narrated by MacKenzie and Evans (Motor Trends, 2010), Toyota’s recall crisis began in August 2009 with a fatal car crash reportedly caused by involuntary acceleration, originally presumed to be caused by the car’s floor matting system, which interfered with the car’s gas pedal.After an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and after being lambasted by several media outfit, particularly the Los Angeles Times, and exposing unreported incidents of a car crash of Toyota vehicles in the past, Toyota began sending letters to owners, sometime in October or two months after the fatal car crash in August, indicating a recall of the Toyota vehicles to deal with the “unintentional acceleration issues”, but without admitting any factory defects on its products.