Toyota is facing a major recall crisis. The Prius is the latest Toyota model to experience design flaws.  Unlike the faulty accelerator pedal being recalled in several Toyota models in the United States, the Prius is being recalled for faulty brakes in other parts of the world.

Toyota has been somewhat nonchalant about these recalls.  In a press conference today (shown in the video to the right), Toyota’s managing officer is almost denying that there is a problem with the faulty brakes.  “If you don’t press harder on the brake, the distance taken to stop will increase… It is a natural human response to push the brake more, if it doesn’t respond.  So I don’t believe that this will lead to an extension of the stopping distance.”

With over 4 million vehicles recalled globally, Toyota is compounding the situation by making excuses and trying to cover up the problems.  Instead, Toyota could have handled this unfortunate situation in a much more professional manner.  If Toyota had been upfront and honest with the public, I don’t think people would be reacting so emotionally.  They should have immediately stepped forward and offered a rebate or some type of compensation to their stranded and loyal customers.  They could have done a better job of damage control and stopped the bleeding much sooner.

The lesson for Toyota is that social media has a powerful voice.  If you fail to respond quickly to a massive issue – such as this – you will face severe brand degradation.  While Toyota is the world’s car manufacturer, it’ll be interesting to see how they restore faith in many of their customers.  Any enraged Toyota owners out there?