Last night on The Daily Show host Jon Stewart lowered the boom on Toyota US President James Lentz’s attempt in front of Congress to blame the consumer for Toyota’s acceleration problems. Stewart said, “So, it’s our fault? Well I don’t understand why people insist on trying to drive the world’s largest novelty paperweights.” Check out the video:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Toyotathon of Death – Unintended Acceleration Problem|
Yesterday, Lentz said, “With respect to pedal entrapment, Toyota conducted investigations of consumer complaints which focused too narrowly on technical issues without taking full account on the way consumers used our vehicles.”Stewart replied, What? You didn’t know how we were using your vehicles? So, it’s our fault? Well I don’t understand why people insist on trying to drive the world’s largest novelty paperweights. Well excuse us I’m so sorry let us apologize. We’re sorry our feet are so f**king fat and heavy.”
Lentz’s inability to accept Toyota’s blame for the problem is the height of corporate arrogance. Toyota has handled this entire problem as if they were trying to hide something, instead of protecting their customers. The real damage that has been done to their brand does not stem from the issue with their product. Recalls happen all of the time. Toyota screwed up by demonstrating apathy towards the prospect of their consumers become unwilling crash test dummies.
What Stewart pointed out last night is that corporate arrogance and stupidity, especially in the auto industry is far from dead. Toyota’s reaction to this problem should serve as a case study in how to ruin your brand and sending people running away from your products. If Toyota would have simply been honest about the cause and recalled the cars, this would have been a small story. Toyota’s hubris made this a big story and the company ripe to be taken down.