I finally got around to reading about a week or two worth of news feeds about manufacturing, and found a surprise -- the negative Toyota press, for once in my journalistic life, actually outweighed the positive.
For instance, did you know that the company known for its "respect for people" culture is being tied to human trafficking, among other, similar, horrible and inhuman offenses?
Now, before you get similarly hysterical, I know perfectly well that anyone can put out a press release accusing anyone else of anything, but I remembered reading the Autoblog's coverage of the Toyota worker who worked himself to death, as well as finding Toyota's name as one of the multinationals involved in dealings in Burma despite protestations to the contrary (this came out during the anti-Burmese government flare-up some months back) so I guess this "news release" from the NLC is just taking some pre-existing bad press and running it to its illogical conclusion.
Then, I read in the IHT blogs, Environmental Leader and elsewhere about Toyota's getting dinged by a Belgian advertising trade watchdog group for violating "truth in advertising" laws by overly hyping the Prius' emissions levels. Does the Prius really need more green cred, that they have to start manufacturing some out of whole cloth?
I'm sure this was just a terrible, horrible bit of copywriting on the part of some Belgian affiliate of BBDO or Saatchi & Saatchi (or whatever lucky agency has Toyota's global ad account these days), but still -- the trust that Toyota has built up over the years with the Prius brand is about as valuable a property as there is to be had, going forward, in the auto world, and any agency that doesn't have a firm grasp of that concept deserves to lose the account, like, yesterday.
The last Toyota-centric item I read today was a little more run-of-the-mill -- another safety award (yawn) but hey, that's hardly even news anymore, right?