Toyota Attacks Weak Domestic Sales With Car Mall
The AP reports that Toyota is tackling slow Japanese sales with a new, 200-store and restaurant, auto-themed mall. The Tressa mall in Yokohama features car-shaped shopping carts, a model car store and musical robots. The mall's "anchors:" massive Toyota showrooms. A Toyota subsidiary has been operating an automall in Gifu prefecture since 1999. Despite the marketing razzmatazz, the root problems for Toyota– and Japanese car sales in general– remain. An analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities says that Japanese OEMs have ignored the competitive domestic market for too long in favor in favor of higher profits abroad. Atsushi Kawai says the neglect has created a cultural resistance to the enormous hassles of Japanese car ownership. "Domestic sales are a total disaster now," says Kawai. "A car used to symbolize a dream. People used to work hard to buy a car. These days, nobody is saying that. No one thinks a car is cool anymore."
More by Edward Niedermeyer