Friday, November 5, 2010

Big is not a benefit

The news for Toyota was good this week as global sales and profits rose for the quarter, but not really good because all of those gains were in Japan and other Asian markets. In the US and Europe, however, where their reputation had been most damaged by recalls and accusations unintended acceleration, sales fell by 44,000 units in the quarter that just ended.

To put this in perspective Honda increased its sales by 98,811 units in the US, even with largely invisible marketing and products that are the very definition of bland. Nissan sales also increased, Ford is on a tear with sales up 15% and even GM is reporting gains of 3.5%.

When leaders at Toyota shifted their focus from building the highest quality cars and trucks to becoming the largest car maker in the world, they almost guaranteed this outcome.

Consumers don't care if you're the biggest at something, only that you're the best at the thing that matters most to them.

When Toyota's reputation for quality came into question, they lost the one thing that mattered most. And now they're paying the price.

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