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Toyota asked to improve worldwide media relations

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Toyota Motor Corporation, which recalled over 8.5 million vehicles this year, has been asked by an expert panel to improve its media relations worldwide to ensure better crisis management.

The Japanese car maker has been grappling with millions of recalls due to quality problems, which have negatively impacted the entity's global image.

"Pressing is the need for bridging the culture gap between Japan and other nations in public relations activities and for strengthening Toyota's locally based capabilities for handling media relations in each principal region," an expert panel has said.

A panel of four experts, set up by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers at the request of Toyota, has presented its report about the company's quality assurance framework.

According to the report, there should be effective internal and external communication when there are serious quality issues.

Among the measures suggested are "stepping up communication with the mass media and with other external audiences".

Further, the report has called for setting up a Special Committee for Global Quality as well as strengthening regional operations' capabilities and authority for making prompt responses to quality concerns.

The report is part of Toyota's efforts to rebuild its global image following millions of recalls worldwide. The problems included floor mat interference with accelerator pedals and a defect in the Prius braking system.

Calling for better quality-related processes, the panel asserted that lasting improvements in crisis-management communication would depend on accompanying the measures with workplace procedures and mechanisms.