Toyota Sets Wordlwide Sales Targets for '08; GM Does Not

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Back when Toyota first toppled GM from the worldwide sales charts, The General's General dismissed the historic milestone as no biggie. When the markets growled at Rick Wagoner's ho-hummer, the American CEO eventually declared his intention to defend the company's honor. While it's down to the wire for '07, Toyota is already announcing its intention to snag the sales title in the New Year. According to The New York Times, ToMoCo plans to sell 9.85m vehicles worldwide in 2008. In fact, despite a U.S. economic downturn, Toyota is set to increase American sales by one percent. So what does the 76-year worldwide sales champ have to say about its own plans for world domination? Nothing. "G.M. has not given a forecast for the number of vehicles it expects to produce or sell in 2008." Just in case you missed the contrast in corporate cultures, Credit Suisse auto analyst Koji Endo reminds us that “These are targets Toyota is giving, not forecasts, and so they are reasonable." Oh, and Toyota also says it will begin mass-producing lithium-ion batteries for its low-emission vehicles in '09. And so it goes.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Thalter Thalter on Dec 26, 2007

    Less than a week away from 2008, and the General doesn't know how many cars it's going to make? They are either lying, or incompetent (or quite possibly both).

  • Cammy Corrigan Cammy Corrigan on Dec 26, 2007

    I do worry that Toyota are becoming more and more bullish to the point of arrogance. One of the reason I had a soft spot for Toyota was their humility and insistence on "slow and steady" growth. But one can't take away Toyota's achievements. Boring or not, Toyota have sold GM style volumes with Honda style reliability. Not an easy trick to pull off. GM, however, just seems to drift from port to port like the Marie Celeste. No direction, no leadership and no future. I have to admit that maybe Rick Wagoner is cleverer than we gave him credit for. GM is 4 years into its "turnaround" and is losing marketshare, having trouble sustaining profits, cannot declare to Wall Street its intentions or any tangible targets and haemorraging money. Yet, Mr Wagoner still keeps his job and the board of directors give him a vote of confidence. If you or I were this useless at our jobs, we'd be be sacked quicker than [s]Tom LaSorda[/s] Juergen Schrempp. How persuasive is Mr Wagoner?!

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Dec 26, 2007

    Maybe he has compromising photos in his possession?

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 26, 2007

    RF, You are spot on with the objective targets thing. The truth is that our present bank robber boards and C level suite holders have all too often gotten to their lofty perches without ever being held properly accountable. It's been decades since real measures were applied. They don't even know how to ask the right questions anymore. It's just insane how often I work with companies and they really haven't measured what counts. I have seen lots of sales executives move up through the ranks that sell themselves better than they sell product. Once a company gets overtaken by this kind of culture, it may never recover on its own. Can GM's cash last until the car market turns around, or oil falls to $50 a barrel?