By on March 15, 2010

Toyota sales back home in Japan have yet to show a sign of suffering (they were up 49.9 percent in February while the Japanese market rose 35.1 percent.) However, Toyota’s reputation is taking a hit in the Land of the Rising Sun, says The Nikkei [sub].  Depends on how you look at it: 40 percent of Japanese consumers in a recent survey said Toyota’s troubles have undermined their confidence. 58.4 percent said the issues have not changed their opinion of Toyota, 1.4 percent said they now hold the firm in higher regard.

The poll was conducted on March 1-2 by TNS-Infoplan Inc., a week after Akio Toyoda apologized on Capitol Hill and days after he bowed to the Chinese in  Beijing. I was in Japan at the time, and you could feel the embarrassment and loss of face.

Polls of that kind are generally useless, results change daily, depending on the news. What counts are the opinions of owners of the brand (and those of other brands) who are about to buy another vehicle. TNS should know that,  they have years of experience from the conduction of the (usually secret) European Customer Satisfaction study for European automakers. Another way of interpreting the data would be “majority of Japanese unfazed by Toyota’s troubles.” But that doesn’t sell expensive studies.

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One Comment on “Toyota Loses Face In Japan. Or Not...”


  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Having now experienced pretty much all of the large research agencies this comes as no surprise – their understanding of issues such as this one tends to be relatively basic – they can do fieldwork to varying degrees of quality but if you want results solid enough to base decisions on you need to design the study from start to finish yourself and then analyse the data and draw conclusions yourself, too. The same thing happens to the ones, who have never done research in the automotive business, just as well as to the ones who have decades of experience and thouands of projects under their belt. Rather sad state of affairs, really.


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