Japanese Automakers Continue to Take a Pounding as Recalls Kill Consumer Confidence

Seven major international automakers announced on Monday that they are recalling an estimated 2.9 million cars. Among those, four of them are automakers based in Japan. Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda are all being forced to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles to address reported issues affecting airbags made by Takata Corp., another Japanese firm. Depending on the instance, Takata’s airbags either suddenly inflate during the course of driving, representing a significant driving hazard, or worse yet, in the event of an accident, the airbag’s inflator ruptures, leaving drivers with failed airbags. It’s just the latest in a slew of recalls that are leaving consumer confidence a little shaky as far as Japanese automakers are concerned.

Is There Any Japanese Automaker That Isn’t Taking a Hit to Consumer Confidence?
The past five years have been tough for almost every single major Japanese car maker. Toyota has had to issue recall after recall for seat belt issues, suddenly inflating airbags, and sticking accelerators that are known to have caused major injury to and the death of multiple drivers. While Toyota’s fortunes have, indeed, been the darkest, every one of the Land of the Rising Sun’s major producers has fallen victim in recent memory. Even Subaru, long having a reputation for quality and safety, is currently dealing with a recall for defective brakes as its competitors deal with their slew of issues.

How Can These Companies Recover Quickly?
As consumer confidence deflates like a violently punctured balloon, Japanese automakers will have to think quickly if they want to avoid a lack of confidence translating to a lack of sales. Many producers have started pushing dealers to offer more incentives for signing on with a company that has had some PR trouble as of late. One such push made it so car buyers with existing loans could obtain new loans at lower interest rates. It’s doubtful, however, that such a program will be enough. If consumers have finally reached their breaking point, Toyota and all the rest will need to think on their feet about new deals to make their vehicles, defective or otherwise, more attractive to the recall weary consumer.

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