Bob Carter knows something about losing the public's trust. And he thinks the auto industry is losing it in spades because of flimsy marketing claims.
Last week the senior vice president at Toyota's U.S. sales arm said some automakers are tarnishing the industry's reputation with misleading claims about fuel economy, towing capacity and other things.
"It casts a cloud over everybody's marketing," Carter told reporters after his speech at the 2013 Automotive Forum, an industry conference.
Carter said Toyota was "the poster child for the need to be open, transparent and honest" after its unintended-acceleration problems in 2009. He said Toyota is "a different company" today in terms of transparency.
Without pointing fingers, Carter said suspect claims make it harder for any automaker's marketing to resonate with consumers. "We've got to make sure that the product lives up to what the marketing suggests it does," he said.
In February, Hyundai agreed to settle consumer lawsuits stemming from overstated fuel economy ratings for 600,000 vehicles. Ford has come under EPA scrutiny for its fuel economy claims for the Fusion and C-Max hybrids.
And last month Automotive News reported that Toyota was the only pickup manufacturer to adopt a standardized test for towing capacity that all pickup makers agreed four years ago to use on 2013 models. The procedures lower the towing capacity ratings.