Toyota Dealerships Still Have 'Small Window of Opportunity' to Avoid Recall Backlash and Financial Catastrophe, Claims National Automotive Experts

Toyota dealers still have a "limited window of opportunity" to avoid financial catastrophe following the automaker's massive 2.3 million vehicle recall, according to National Automotive experts, Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller. This includes increasing dealer marketing efforts and calming fears using social media and "town hall" style conferences to proactively shield their stores from future loss.

Jan 31, 2010, 11:07 ET from Gravitational Marketing

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- With thousands of Toyota dealerships already struggling amidst decreased consumer spending and a national credit crunch, Toyota's massive 2.3 million vehicle recall has store owners nationwide bracing for financial loss and long-term backlash in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010.

The recall, which included many of Toyota's top selling models such as Camry and Corolla, has also prompted the manufacturer to halt production until the potentially fatal issue of sticking gas pedals is resolved.  

"While Toyota dealers are understandably panicked and bracing for a big hit following the recall, dealers still have a limited window of opportunity to mitigate financial loss in their local stores." says National Automotive Marketing Experts and the authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers, Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller.  

According to Miller and Vee, there are five immediate steps dealerships can take to ride out Toyota's PR nightmare and financial storm this year:

  1. Keep Marketing: It's a natural reaction to halt marketing when things look bad.  However, this can open the door for more financial problems according to Miller and Vee.  "Dealers that halt marketing create more fear and uncertainty in the mind of the consumer.  Instead, it's important to appear active and busy—especially as Ford and GM prepare to step up their advertising campaigns in the near future"
  2. Become a trusted resource for Toyota owners by creating and disseminating information:  "Whether it's in the form of a free report, a toll-free hotline or videos posted on the dealer website, it's critical to give out free information addressing consumer fears and concerns regarding the product," says Miller and Vee.
  3. Be available for the local press:  According to Miller and Vee, "Dealerships should commit to becoming a trusted resource for the press to help the public truly understand the situation, while simultaneously mitigating some of the fear and distrust in the Toyota brand right now."
  4. Host a "town hall" style seminar at the dealership for owners and residents:  As Vee and Miller note, "Open communication is critical in helping consumers feel safe with the brand—and your store—once the issues that prompted the recall are resolved".
  5. Use social media platforms to communicate and educate your community:  Facebook, Twitter, blogs and video are a great way to open dialogue and engage consumers on their own turf, according to Miller and Vee. "Social media is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way for dealers to stay on top of questions from the community and become a trusted resource in the face of Toyota's current storm."  

About Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the nation's leading experts on attracting customers and the co-authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers (Wiley). They are probably most well known for having generated more than $12 billion in revenue for their combined clients and selling more than 1 million vehicles before they were 30.

SOURCE Gravitational Marketing