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Updated on February 17, 2010

Reputation is everything. If you don't think so, just take a look at what happened to Tiger Woods after the debacle over his infidelities. Not that Tiger's career is necessarily over, but certainly things are on hold for now. And the certainty of his future being as big as it was before all of this shocking news surfaced about his life is not so certain anymore. There's also something else that comes to my mind when I think about Tiger Woods and what happened to him—he was big. He was really big. Maybe too big. Remember that old saying, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall?" Tiger Woods fell pretty hard.

It's sort of the same situation Toyota Motor Company is facing right now. They're going through a pretty rough time to be sure. Toyota is scrambling to recall nearly half of their fleet of cars due to a gas pedal problem which apparently may cause the driver to experience unintended acceleration—without a fix, mind you. There are some ideas floating around, and the original manufacturer, which made the pedals to Toyota's specifications, have said that they have a redesigned pedal going into quick production as we speak. But nothing has been officially released as of this writing.

On top of that, Toyota will now have to explain themselves to Congress as documents about the recall are being requested from the company, as well as from U..S. safety regulators. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he has concern over the seriousness and scope of the recent recall announcements.

I make the Tiger Woods comparison because if you think about it, both Tiger and Toyota had strong reputations for not only being the best at what they did, but for who they were. In a way, a trust was built between them and the people who loved them, and trust is a very big thing. Once that trust is broken, It's a very hard thing to get back.

It's true that Toyota is not hiding from the problem. But like the Tiger Woods story, it may also be just the icing on the cake.

When the Tiger Woods story hit the wire, things only got worse from there. Women practically came out of the woodwork. The only thing we didn't have was someone claiming to have Tiger's baby—wait, it may not be over yet. So, the question jumps into my mind, what else might we learn about Toyota? How much may the company have kept from the American public as it sought domination in the US auto market? While GM and Chrysler were both collapsing in the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, this was Toyota's shot at the big time. They were already the world's largest automaker, but the US market still largely belonged to GM, and this was the nut they wanted to crack. When you're that close to the prize, you don't want someone tugging at your coattails to tell you there's a problem. That there's a big problem.

There's no wrongdoing to speak of at this time. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Still, it's not going to be a bed of roses for Toyota even if nothing is uncovered. At the end of the day brand is everything. Brand integrity is the lion's pride. Safety and quality have become synonymous with Toyota, and now that's in serious question. It's going to hurt them Tiger Woods style.

Already, three major rental car companies have removed Toyota's from their rental fleets, and a major distributor of used cars for dealers has also suspended sales of Toyotas. It's going to be a rocky road future for Toyota Motor Company, of that there's no doubt. They're not going to go out of business. This recall situation isn't going to destroy them entirely as a company. Just like the debacle over all those women isn't going to destroy Tiger Woods entirely. He'll be back on the golf course one day, and Toyota's will still adorn the nation's highways. But I'm inclined to believe that after the smoke clears, Toyota will simply not be the car company that it was before, and Tiger will never be anyone's golden child again. When things like this happen, it changes things. It changes people's perceptions. And anyone knows that a reputation is the hardest thing in the world to get back once it's been tarnished.

Just ask GM, Chrysler, or Ford about that.


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    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      There is certainly much temptation. That is undeniable. Thanks for stopping in.

    • greatAmerican profile image

      greatAmerican 8 years ago

      Spring, I haven't followed the Toyota story, I have trouble stop thinking about that cute little gal at the end of their commercials ,, she only says one word, and I don't know why I find it so delightful,,, Maybe it is her LOOK,,

      that word in case you don't watch TV


      I know trust is important but I imagine there are a lot of men glad they are not in the limelight as Tiger is..

      Men will be men as long as their are women who need men..

      Not making excuses, just a fact of life..

      That "who" girl could make me naughty,, if I was about 30 years younger,,, well maybe 40

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, and thanks for stopping in.

    • thelaserman profile image

      thelaserman 8 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      Great comparison! Enjoyed the article.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I'm glad it did. Thanks garcilazoand for giving it a read.

      yenajeon—very true. Although I'm wondering if maybe I could have made a faulty brake comparison to his SUV not stopping before it crashed... ;)

    • garcilazoand profile image

      garcilazoand 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Nice article. Good headline/topic too, it really caught my attention.

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 8 years ago from California

      True Spring, except for the fact that Toyota is actually very dangerous to the public thinking of purchasing a Toyota.

      Tiger Wood's affairs: not really affecting human lives!! Great hub=)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I think you're right. There are other comeback stories I can think of. Mel Gibson comes to mind. Okay, momentarily he's the only one I can think of (been a long day so far, lol). It's not like he's done something like say, Michael Richards or even Mel Gibson for that matter. So, we'll see.

    • profile image

      Nicks 8 years ago

      I suspect that both will survive - just fine. The main difference is that, after a suitable period of 'modesty', Tiger Woods will return with a madia impact that will actually increase his earnings. He will probably benefit from not the 'how the mighty have fallen...' aphorism but the more modern ' no publicity is bad pubicity' one!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Ann Nonymous—yes, I suppose Tiger does have feelings, though I don't think he may have considered that his wife, or any of the other women he was having relations with, have them too. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Pamela—I appreciate that. :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Springboard, Another good hub. I wouldn't have thought about this comparison either, but it works.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      Very interesting analogy! I never would have compared these two T's with each other but in a way it makes sense. The difference being, Tiger has feelings....Poor guy: ( Great Hub and Thanks for fanning me!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Yeah, the Toyota recall has been some pretty big news here in the US, and of course the stock has taken quite a beating as well of late. As for the avatar, it's me on a golf course, but I can assure you anyone who has ever been on a golf course with me would never call me a golfer. :) Thanks for your comments.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I am a big fan of Toyota ... mainly because of the dependability of their cars. Nothing seems to ever go wrong with them. I wasn't aware of this gas pedal problem - they don't seem to have made any announcement here in India. Honda, its close rival, has recently recalled some models of the City for a faulty door switch which can cause fire.

      From your avatar, you're a golfer. Somehow despite his popularity and machine like precision on the course, I did not really like Tiger Woods. He always appeared so cold and calculating. Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, has always been so much more human in his warmth and in the way he sometimes goes for shots that he shouldn't! But, I do feel sorry for Tiger: Now that he is down and under, all the jokes seem to be about him ... and he has been pushed as deep down the sewage pit as he was placed high on the pedestal earlier.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for stopping by.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I like how you likened one headline to another. Yes, Toyota and will both be back on track. Both are too good at what they do to simply squander away into oblivion. Thanks for sharing this article with all of us!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      They're just in a situation so far as I can tell. When you've got almost your entire fleet needing a repair, even if its a small one in per unit cost, it can really add up. Producers can't produce the replacement units fast enough, nor can dealerships deal with the workload to replace the units, you've got to kickback money for the time and whatnot the dealerships have to spend fixing the problem...

      And on top of that you lose some credibility which equates to at least SOME loss of sales in the short term.

      Even if they get this solved quickly, it's still going to be a while before they can return to their former grandeur.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I haven't figured Toyota out. It doesn't add up, unless they think the cost for repairs is too much, and they will just leave the market, and skip the country.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Size and impact. AIG had it's hands in too many places. It was insuring the insurers. If AIG would have collapsed, I am inclined to believe that the entire economic system would have as well. Lehman was big, but it wasn't so intertwined in the economy and the problems that were developing at the time.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Good question, why?

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very true, though I'm a little divided on the AIG issue considering it's sheer size and the impact it may have had overall on the economy. Why AIG and not Lehman? Size and impact.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Great hub. The moral of this story is that no individual and no corporation is too big to fail. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Some of the companies that Obama saved, (AIG) should have been left to flounder. Another stronger company, better golfer, etc will come along. They also could recover on their own which is the common sense way to go.


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