Toyota doors open up recall notice

Toyota recently announced a massive recall on its popular Sienna minivan. About 700,000 units are being recalled due to a defect that allows the sliding doors to open while the vehicle is in motion. At this point, the recall announcement does not include any information about whether or not anyone has been injured due to this defect, nor how the company learned of the issue.

The recall report specifies that the affected vehicles include model years 2011 – 2016, and, according to the report, the issue happens when the sliding door is “impeded” while operating automatically. This can cause the circuit to overload, which could lead to a failure of the door to properly latch. Recalls are part of manufacturing. Defects happen, and companies have to deal with them. How those companies deal with those issues goes a long way toward improving or impeding that brand’s public relations.

But this is always a cost-benefit evaluation. For Toyota customers, there are few imaginings as nightmarish as the thought of a van door flying open on the interstate, directly endangering the young passengers in the back seats. The first question parents want answered is “are my kids safe!” If not, how can I make them safe, and when will this happen?

Toyota jumped on the problem, effectively answering both questions. First, the recall is for all Siennas from the affected years – bring them in and get them fixed immediately. According to the report, Toyota plans to have this issue completely handled by mid-January.

That’s not exactly “immediately,” but it’s fairly quick considering the sheer numbers involved. Regardless of how large the company, 700,000 is a huge number. To manage a recall of that size properly will take a massive concerted effort by the company.

The biggest “plus” in the column for Toyota, though, is how they have, once again, properly handled a recall. The company is fast developing a reputation for fixing mistakes that are every bit as ironclad as the overall customer satisfaction and assumed quality Toyota is reputed to bring to the table.

After all, this could have been handled very differently. Toyota could have strung it out, tried to keep it quiet and dealt with the problem after major issues had created a tragedy. But, no, they jumped out and addressed the problem quickly, efficiently and, owners hope, completely.

The proof in this pudding is next January though. Will Toyota have the recalls finished in time and have their customers back on the road, safe and happy?

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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