Unspun on the Toyota recall crisis

The Toyota recall incident is turning into an unmitigated crisis of disaster-like proportions for the company. In between pretending to listen to speakers at a conference today Unspun‘s alter ego managed to communicate with a Reuters reporter who wanted to know his opinions about how Toyota seems to be handling the incident. Never short of opinions, he shot his mouth off and resulted in this story as well as the (extract) of the one below:


The problems have raised questions about the handling of the crisis by Toyota executives, led by president and founding family member Akio Toyoda.

“In moments of a business crisis, people want to see a company take full responsibility, be empathic to the victims and their families and be in control by outlining the problem and how they intend to solve it. They also expect the CEO doing all this,” said Ong Hock Chuan, technical adviser of Jakarta-based PR consultancy Maverick who specialises in crisis management.

“Toyota seems to have failed in all counts. It’s admission of the problem has been half hearted and almost reluctant, it has failed to apologise unequivocally to victims and their families, and its failed to articulate and communicate what it intends to do to regain control of the situation.”

Toyota will have a further opportunity to address the issue at its third-quarter results, due on Thursday. Honda, the first Japanese automaker to post third-quarter earnings, raised its full-year operating profit forecast to 320 billion yen, a third above consensus forecasts.

Students of Crisis Management may also want to read about how Toyota missed the early warning signals of an impending crisis here. Crises are man-made, which means they have early warning signs that something big is going to happen. When companies ignore these warning signals or unable to process them they get into a crisis-like situation.

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