Customer complaints about Toyota cars suddenly accelerating were initially downplayed by Toyota Motor Sales in December 2009, which initially stated that it was caused by the driver's side carpeting getting in the way of the pedal. Toyota's announcements at the beginning of 2010, however, suggested that the real culprit was a defective gas pedal. This resulted in many calls for an investigation, as the initial claim about the carpeting was seen as apparent camouflage for a more serious situation, one that is alleged to have resulted in hundreds of Toyota cars suddenly accelerating and unable to stop, as well as several passengers dying in accidents.
Additional issues have since emerged that suggested other mechanical problems at this major automobile manufacturer. Within the automobile world, the recalls have affected over eight million Toyota automobiles.
Review the two URL's below and, after you have done additional research, share what you see as the responsibilities that a marketer (Toyota) has to the society in which it markets its goods. Was there an ethical breach by Toyota in not coming forth when the problem with acceleration was first reported, or was it simply a series of poor business decisions? Or was it both? Substantiate your response.
Given the current situation, what would you suggest that Toyota do to ensure that its marketing practices are seen by its publics as ethical and above board? At the same time, how should Toyota market itself to regain consumer trust that has been shaken by the many deaths that resulted because of the initial gas pedal defect?