Read the article here.
For guidance — and perhaps inspiration — Toyota should do some research on the Johnson & Johnson Tylenol recall of 1982.
That year, seven people in the Chicago area died from taking Tylenol capsules poisoned with potassium cyanide. The case remains unsolved, and no suspects were ever charged.
But Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) didn’t wait around for the authorities to act. It stopped production of Tylenol and issued a nationwide recall of 31 million bottles already in circulation with a retail value of over $100 million.
The murders stopped, and J&J’s actions led to changes in packaging — those annoying seals on everything from aspirin to milk — as well as federal anti-tampering laws. Through its prompt action, J&J was able to actually enhance the value of the Tylenol brand by making product safety one of its attributes.
Toyota has a much tougher job ahead of it. That’s because the problems in its cars are not the result of a crazed individual but are systemic to the product development process. Fixing the system that allowed the defects to occur will be complex and expensive.