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The usage of the information

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Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota

Few weeks ago, the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, had to organize recalls of around 1,8 million of cars in Europe and 2,3 million of cars in the United Sates for potential technical problems of accelerator, after some complaints from customers and some accidents due to defects. This matter reached considerable proportions in the United States, where Mr. Akio Toyoda, president of the company was invited by the American Congress to provide explanations to the members of the parliament. Around 2600 complains were registered to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the weight of legal actions seems to be appreciable.

I was a bit surprised by the proportion of the reaction of the American authorities, and the place it took on the media. I remember to talk with some American colleagues, and some of then told me that often, they were buying Japanese cars, because these cars never presented any troubles or failures, obliging you to go to the garage, and making you losing time. The question is: are the other cars more trustable than Toyota’s or not? Are they not presenting any problems or defects, bringing any legal actions and claims against the manufacturer? The question is relevant, when in the beginning of March, we could read in the newspapers that General Motors was obliged to recall around 1,3 million of cars for a potential steering problem. But this information did not have the same important media coverage, and it seems that the president of GM was not obliged to appear before the congress to bring explanations. By seeing this, I was wondering if we could not see here a kind of protectionist reaction in an important automotive market crisis context?

For Toyota, this media impact has important consequences in term of reputation. It is a fact that the recalled cars presented potential problems, but was the reaction proportional to the problem? The consequences for Toyota are important in terms of marketing and reputation, and could be profitable for the other cars manufacturers. What I mean here is that the way that an event or a fact is presented in the media, will bring a different perception to the people, a different image of the reality. By talking about this example to remind us that we have to develop and keep our critical mind. It is always difficult to have a clear picture of the reality. This reality appears as objective when the image we perceive from then is fitting with our subjectivity. The channel of information are numerous, we can be informed on time, but we have to make sure that the sources of information are trustable, we have to compare each other, to analyze then in order to have a correct judgment and to have appropriate behavior and provide appropriate answers.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 24, 2010 at 23:50

Posted in Business

Tagged with , , ,

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