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Toyota "Commitment" ad - Click above to watch video

Recalls have left Toyota battered and bruised with a very damaged image that now needs rebuilding. Consumer trust is not easily earned. Toyota knows it, too. The automaker worked for decades to build an image that equated quality and reliability with the company name itself. Now under heavy fire over its handling of the problems that led to the floor mat and gas pedal recalls involving its most popular and important models, Toyota has embarked upon a PR blitz intended to convince frustrated customers and a skeptical media that everything's going to be all right.

Whether that's indeed the case will become evident over time. Sales numbers speak for themselves, and if the public isn't buying Toyota's explanation, they won't be buying its vehicles, either. In any case, it'll probably be years before the recall story's epilogue can honestly be written.

For now, Toyota's primary focus is on re-establishing itself as a business that's deserving of consumers' trust. That starts with saying "I'm sorry" as frequently and in as many different venues as possible. The latest part of Toyota's apology blitz comes in the form of a new TV spot called "Commitment." It's embedded after the jump for you to watch. The message is simple and delivered well: Toyota messed up big time, it knows it, and it's fully aware that the onus is on itself to win back customers' confidence.

If Toyota's smart, it'll air during the Super Bowl later this evening. But seeing it also leaves us wondering if Toyota had spent a fraction of its PR resources on getting out in front of these recall problems months ago instead of the damage control its writing checks for now, would it even be in this position today? Unfortunately for Toyota, we'll never know.

[Source: Toyota via Gaywheels]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      It ain't over til the fat lady sings and Japan is noted for not having any fat lady singers.
      Congressional hearings are scheduled for Feb 28 and it's starting to look like someone is going to get their arse handed to them in an urn.
      And then, they're still going to have to deal with ABC's Brian Ross.
      There will be a lull for a while, but the psunami is forming.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was a my bad and no, you can't spank me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        invisiblepigeon3@ nice one man...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Also they claim to have a fix for their recalls, but the Feds are investigating sudden acceleration causes being a result of a fault in the ECM. The gas pedal (which is a flawed design) and floor mat recalls also don't cover reports that go back as far as 1999.

      Oh and let's not forget they still haven't recalled the Prius for braking problems even though they know it exists and have a fix for it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They haven't technically recalled it yet but they've already said that they will be recalling it once they work out the details.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Owned 2 Toyota Camry's in my life, and both have ran flawlessly, never once stranded on the side of the road, never had any mechanical failures, nothing ever broke off in the interior, paint still looks good, both were sold with more 200,000 miles on odometer. Yeah Toyota f***'d up here, but the truth is they became the company they are, because for a very long time there products were solid, and reliable as hell. I'm waiting for the RWD coupe to come out, and I'll be first in line, because whats going to happen now is Toyota cars are going to be even better than they were before. It absolutely sucks that people lost their lives to such a stupid easily fixable mistake, for Toyota to step up and do the right thing, and they should be punished for that mistake, and it looks like they are and will be, but what we should also remember is that Toyota is run by people and people make mistakes, and I believe in second chances, and redemption.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So does that mean you will also try a new GM product in the future?
        • 5 Years Ago
        CarsOrNothing@ I believe you're right. Look at Audi now,it is far better than I was before the unintentional acceleration issue.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It isn't just about the quality/reliability of their future cars. It is about the trustworthiness of their people. No matter what Toyota does to improve their cars, the experiences people have had in Toyota dealerships in getting their worries addressed, or their pedals sawed off, will be what they will remember.

        Ford and GM have struggled with getting their recent safety/quality message across because of the JDM reputations and the D3 experiences from the past. The Toyota trainwreck will help to level that playing field and I doubt that it will get tipped so severely in the JDM's favor again any time soon.

        There is now a large gap on the field for Ford and GM to push through. Let's see how well they can take advantage of it before Toyota can get their act together again. And push through it they must. It isn't about kicking someone when they are down. It is about picking up the ball and running with it after the other team fumbles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Glad to see someone has a clear head though all the stuff that has happened.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @SpecV

        Yea, that's a great example of how a car company can come back from something like this and make a product that is far better than it once was.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Foget the ad agency crap. Just tell the truth of when you knew, what you covered up and when you'll really fix the cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ha! When was the last time you saw a car company make an ad apologizing because of a recall?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Never so toyota made more history. unless Lancia made one in the uk 4 their rusting cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Come on, every car maker has a recall or two. I cant believe the garbage related to the Toyota recall. Christ no-one looks sideways when Boeing issue a tech memo asking aircraft mechanics to check the hinge and bolt assembly on their 747 cargo doors.
      Get over it. They'll learn their lesson and may have to give a little more to make up for it.
      I live 6 months in Japan and six months in NZ, and I must admit buying my wife a new camry in NZ and seeing just how much you get after Toyota NZ have stripped the camry to its essentials compared to its Japan brethren is truely soul destroying.
      When u see what u get from Mitsubishi NZ and Misti Japan they are almost identical.
      Why? Because Mitsi went through exactly the same recall problems that Toyota have now and the way they gained peoples trust was to up the specs of their vehicles here in NZ whilst charging no more onto the customer. It seems to have paid off, lets hope Toyota NZ get off their high horse and start trying again here too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Come on, every car maker has a recall or two"

        'Toyota's only human' is the last thing Toyota Marketing and fanbase want to hear.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The world (especially the skeptical media world) is just not impressed with too-little-too-late apology of Toyota. In communcations, there is a science behind 'Apology' and unless it is done correctly, an apology can be counterproductive. Read more on http://publicrelationsindia.blogspot.com/2010/02/science-of-apology-in-communications.html
      • 5 Years Ago
      Strange that there are no Asians in car commercial from a Japanese company. Maybe I missed them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      one important point you're missing: the Ford/Bridgestone issue is nothing like this one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is very true...over ten times as many people died due to the Ford/tire issue than what Toyota's issue has done.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yea, but the bridgestone tires were not a Ford design.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As mentioned before here, people's collective memory is so short. Toyota's will continue to sell. I was out on the roads today and saw dozens of Toyota's being operated normally and happily by their owners. Nobody was scared to drive with them. Regardless of the hype, all is well with the world and this will be yesterday's news in a couple of months. Ford has gotten over the Firestone fiasco pretty well, this is no different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honesty is not always cheap, but it's less expensive then what Toyota will spend rebuilding its reputation. A reputation that would seem to be more important to them then the customers who trusted in there cars with their lives!
      • 5 Years Ago
      WOOOOW!
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