Sam Flemming in Advertising Age mentioned the scandal that Toyota has been embroiled in inside China, before a lot of the bad press it received in the occident over “unintended acceleration”.
This involved a netizen, an owner of a Toyota Highlander Sport, ﬁlming that his SUV was unable to get up a 30-degree incline, something which “lesser” models such as the Korean-built Renault Koleos, and even the subcompact Chery QQ—one of the cheapest cars around in China—could manage.
The following news item reveals more. It’s in Mandarin and dates from December 22, 2009. The news investigators show that even a Daewoo Lacetti (Buick Excelle in China) and a Chery van could manage the same slope, and conﬁrm that the Highlander could not do it.
They are not alone. Jitendra Patel ﬁlmed this with his 2009 Highlander earlier last year:
As Sam says, this issue has brewed thanks to the Chinese internet which, while not as free as it is in most countries, still seems to create active consumers’ groups. People will rally as individuals if the cause is right—and consumers seem to be rediscovering their power, online.