Will it ever end for Toyota? The car manufacturer faces more damaging news this week, as it was revealed its top U.S. PR executive, Irv Miller, warned the company needed to “come clean” about mechanical problems that could trigger sudden acceleration in its cars.
“We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet. The time to hide on this one is over,” said Miller in an email obtained by the Detroit Free Press. Miller has since retired from Toyota.
Toyota issued a statement regarding the email:
While Toyota does not comment on internal company communications and cannot comment on Mr. Miller’s email, we have publicly acknowledged on several occasions that the company did a poor job of communicating during the period preceding our recent recalls. We have subsequently taken a number of important steps to improve our communications with regulators and customers on safety-related matters to ensure that this does not happen again.
Just a few weeks ago Toyota was on the offensive, asking ABC News for a retraction and apology regarding its faulty reporting on the recall. Now, the company is back on the defensive.
In a PRNewser poll this past February, 59% percent of respondents said Toyota was handling the recall “horribly” from a communications perspective.
A slew of special deals drove Toyota sales up 41% in March, after a 13.4% drop over the first two months of 2010.