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The reeling Japanese automaker turns from old school PR to new media.
CHICAGO — As Toyota careened from one recall crisis to the next, the contrast was almost funny.
In one corner, we had pure Kabuki theater — a highly-stylized corporate drama playing out on the world stage.
At a hastily-called news conference in Nagoya on Feb. 5, Akio Toyoda — Toyota president and grandson of the company's legendary founder Kiichiro Toyoda — bowed deeply in remorse before a gaggle of Japanese photographers. He then, dutifully, uttered phrases like "personal responsibility," "deeply regretted," and "very sorry."
Finally, Toyoda announced a new "taskforce" under his control to look into quality problems, and skedaddled.
It was everything you'd expect from a Japanese mea culpa (minus the ritual suicide) — stoic, very public and, of course, entirely predictable.
But then something interesting happened.
Toyota wants to hear from you — submit and vote up questions below!
With the recent controversy surrounding the Toyota vehicle recall, Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, will answer the Digg community’s top questions for a very timely and topical live Digg Dialogg. He will be sitting down with Digg to provide perspective on what happened, what they’re doing about it and what consumers need to know about the recall. Submit and Digg questions from now until Monday, February 8th at 8 a.m. PT to decide which will be asked in this exclusive interview.
But the Digg Dialogue is different. In essence, Toyota's U.S. boss is laying himself out before the site's 40 million rowdy users, any of whom have a chance to ask him — in no uncertain terms and in a most public forum — WTF?
As of this writing, Digg's minions have submitted 1,076 questions. They are, naturally, diverse in tone and subject. But they seem to be falling into several important categories.
Some ask about the recall and the company's response:
Others delve into more political aspects of the crisis:
Another group is concerned with technical aspects of automotive manufacturing: