Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Toyota's Corporate Image

In Japan twenty years ago I worked on a large "Corporate Citizenship" consulting project for Toyota. They took careful note of our extensive findings, and many were adopted. (That was my first such project for a major multinational, and a nice earner!)

Now Toyota is getting into trouble. A recent news article by Haider Rizvi explains: (link) "Toyota is now the world’s largest automaker in terms of net worth, revenue and profits... the company has built its green image around the well-known Prius, [but] hybrid sales tell only a small part of their story. Toyota's reliance on the 14-mile-per-gallon (mpg) Tundra pickup truck and other so-called "gas guzzlers" has held the company’s fleet-wide fuel efficiency down to levels below what they were several decades ago."

Toyota is one of many automakers reportedly lobbying the US government to roll-back plans for stricter fuel efficiency. Toyota is also using its muscle to develop & invest in cleaner energy technologies... Their conundrum as successful market leader is being much more of a target than when simply one of many manufacturers. Toyota needs to effectively position itself as environmentally-friendly, and to follow-through with its marketing. They ultimately direct their own image, as:
or green