After NHTSA Investigation, Toyota Witnesses Jump in Brand Perception

We heard last week that runaway acceleration in Toyota’s vehicles was not due to faulty electronics. The joint report from the National Highway Traffic Safety and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency helped to clear Toyota’s name, stating that any unintended acceleration was caused by faulty floormats or sticking accelerated pedals – both of which Toyota recalled vehicles for – or by driver error, not due to any electrical error.

The official report from NHTSA and NASA is helping to boost consumer confidence for the Toyota brand. Within two days of the announcement, marketing firm YouGov/BrandIndex, which tracks public opinions on major brands, saw the Japanese automaker outpace the rest of its sector in increased positive brand perception. According to Ted Marzilli of YouGov/BrandIndex,

“The public has responded positively, but the bad news is that the initial recalls are still taking away from the more positive news. While the recent investigations may be good news for Toyota, the damage has not been erased.”

Marzilli feels that the change in sentiment toward Toyota is slowing getting better, but will take at least another six months to be near to where it was a year ago. YouGov/BrandIndex also noted in its study that Toyota’s reputation comes directly from the NASA announcement, as it did not advertise during the Super Bowl, a common place for brands to improve their images.

Despite the NASA findings, Toyota still faces class-action lawsuits regarding the aftermath of the unintended acceleration experienced by owners, and its reputation is not back up to the record high that it was at in 2009. The National Academy of Science is also working on its own report regarding Toyota’s acceleration issues and the Center for Auto Safety points out that the NHTSA/NASA investigation may be inconclusive, as parts of the report claim that electronic failure was not completely ruled out.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

fred rander
Ron, with all due respect, you are an idiot. Most reliable vehicles on the road, period. You dont go from an obscure, small brand to number one on the planet in 50 years by chance. You get there by building a quality product that people can trust. An automobile is usually a person's second largest purchase in his or her's life. People buy Toyota because of quality. I have owned 2 that have gone beyond 200,000 miles. This B.S. witch hunt was the result of a slow news cycle and a UAW friendly administration, period. I wonder why we have heard such little news about the recent Ford recall? HMMMMM.
Ron Eves
As parents we are very concerned regarding the recent release of the NHTSA-NASA report on Toyota SUA. Why are we concerned is because this document is heavily redacted without explanation. We have spoken to several bright engineers in this field and they are astonished upon reading this report. Was this done intentionally and a lingering question of why remains, and thus the NASA Report in incomplete. It is amazing in the last week how this severely redacted (censored) report has suddenly become the "Gold Standard" for Toyota. Many questions and issues remain unaddressed by this report such as mechanical recalls for the accelerator assembly and floor mats. Toyota electronics are not the issue, but mechanical and design flaws are. Testing nine vehicles not even randomly selected of millions produced is not a proper representative sample of Toyota product. It seems that Ray LaHood's comments were taken at face value, and few in the media have taken the time to read the report. If the media had taken the time to read the report they would be asking tough questions about the redacted (censored) items. The Toyota position of "Admit Nothing - Deny everything - Demand Proof" seems to be working. Ron & Lori Eves

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