Expert: Toyota Will Restore Trust in 10 Years

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
As Toyota begins to take control of the multiple recalls it issued for many of its cars, marketing expert Sally Hogshead predicted the car company will take 10 to 20 years to recover from concerns about the safety of its models.

"Fixing the cars will be the easy part," Hogshead, author of "Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation," told Co-Anchor of CBS' "The Early Show" Harry Smith Thursday morning.

While the company has launched a public-relations offensive with full-page newspaper ads and television commercials addressing the recalls, Hogshead doesn't see Toyota ridding itself from its brake problems any time soon.

"We'll be seeing for at least a decade, maybe two, that there will be major problems with the Toyota brand because the brand has been founded upon trust, upon reliability and safety and certainty," Hogshead told Smith. "So the very core bedrock of the brand has now been struck hard by this, and consumers are doubting whether or not Toyota was forthcoming enough with them."

More coverage of Toyota's recalls

Toyota Repairing 50,000 Vehicles a Day
Toyota's 2010 Camry Added to Recall List
Toyota's Public and Private Damage Control
U.S. Insurer: We Warned on Toyota in 2007
Toyota Prius Recall Extended Worldwide

Along with repairing the problems with the brakes in its recalled cars, Hogshead notes that the company needs to repair the break the recalls inflicted on consumers' trust in the company.

"This is a $2 billion recall, but the stocks fell $3 billion when the news hit about the recall," Hogshead told Smith. "If they had done this earlier, if they had been proactive, if they had been transparent and open, consumers still could have had that trust there the way they still do with a lot of other brands."

Hogshead recommended the company have "an air of complete openness" with consumers, noting that Toyota's Web site doesn't directly address the recalls with its customers. (However, a check of the site Thursday found a large graphic directing visitors to the company's recall information.)

Hogshead also said that recent revelations that insurers raised red flags about problems with Toyota as early as 2007 did "irreparable damage" on the company's image.

"This is a tough position they found themselves in," Hogshead told Smith, "and they are only making it worse."

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  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for