By on June 26, 2009

Here’s the full text of the speech given by Akio Toyoda, the new president of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Thank you very much for coming today.

I was appointed president of Toyota Motor Corporation at the board of directors meeting held on June 23, following the Ordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting on the same day. In addition to my comments here today, our executive vice presidents will provide remarks on their areas of business.

The global automobile industry has been facing extreme hardships since the latter half of last year. As for Toyota, we ended the last fiscal year with an operating loss of 461 billion yen. We expect our losses to deepen this fiscal year, and so all of us in the new management team at Toyota feel like we are setting sail during a storm.

Since the birth of Toyota, the company’s philosophy has always been to “contribute to society.” The first article of the Toyoda Precepts, our original statement of purpose as a company in 1935, states that we must contribute to the development and welfare of each country we operate in by working together – regardless of individual position – in faithfully fulfilling our duties. In other words, we must manufacture high-quality vehicles for the benefit of society.

“Contributing to society” at Toyota means two things. First, it means, “to manufacture automobiles that meet the needs of society and enrich people’s lives.” And second, “to take root in the communities we serve by creating jobs, earning profits and paying taxes, thereby enriching the local economies where we operate.”

Unfortunately, we are currently losing money and that negatively affects the amount of revenue we pay the government in Japan and our host countries. Like everyone in the company, I am extremely frustrated about this.

So, we must start again from the very bottom up.

The 70-year history of Toyota has been filled with many challenges. Toyota stood close to the verge of bankruptcy in 1950 and suffered a labor dispute that reduced its workforce by a quarter. As a result, the president and other top executives chose to take responsibility for the situation by resigning. But this experience also marked the starting point of the strong labor-management relations that have supported Toyota to this day.

In the 1970s, air pollution standards and two oil crises again threatened the auto industry, but we prevailed by building cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars. In the 1980s, we faced trade frictions and voluntary export restraints that threatened our business, but we overcame these by expanding production outside Japan.

So, Toyota has overcome many challenges during its seven decades of business. What has made this possible is the way we make our cars under our “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu” principles. Furthermore, all Toyota companies around the world have risen to the challenge each time to engage in technological innovation and increased productivity.

During the last 10 years, Toyota has seen a big increase in international sales and production. Since 2003, the pace of expansion has exceeded half a million vehicles a year. Since Toyota’s mission is to contribute to society through the manufacture of automobiles, I do not think we were wrong to expand our business in an attempt to meet the needs of customers around the world. But we may have stretched more than we should have, and that made us unable to capitalize on Toyota’s traditional strengths.

With this in mind, the way forward is clear.

As a company, we must reaffirm and all share the mission of contributing to society through the manufacture of automobiles. And, we must implement the principles Toyota has held to firmly through times of trouble.

Yes, the going will still be tough for the next few years, but if all Toyota companies around the world come together and reaffirm Toyota’s mission, Toyota WILL bounce back. My immediate goal is to work from this low point in our business upward so we can return to profitability as soon as possible.

To do that, I first want to build an unwavering commitment throughout the company to “strive to make better cars” – in other words, I want Toyota to have a “product-focused management.”

Rather than asking, “How many cars will we sell?” or, “How much money will we make by selling these cars?” we need to ask ourselves, “What kind of cars will make people happy?” as well as, “What pricing will attract them in each region?” Then we must make those cars.

The recently released third-generation Prius is a prime example of this spirit. I am certain this car will satisfy both the needs of society as well as our customers.

The second thing I want us to focus on is making sure our management places priority on meeting the needs of regional markets. In other words, a management style that closely watches consumers and markets, notices changes, and allows those best acquainted with a particular market to make prompt decisions.

The structure of our new executive vice presidents reflects this idea. I have asked each one to take responsibility for specific regions around the world.

Together, we will create clear “Regional Vision” plans by determining what role Toyota should play and what we want to achieve in each region. We will also consider our capacity and the market situation in those regions, in order to identify areas where we want to advance, and areas where we need to take a step back. These decisions will allow us to better prioritize the allocation of our resources.

Through these processes, I would like to make Toyota’s product development and product lineup more region-focused. We will change our policy from achieving “a full lineup everywhere” to “a lineup necessary to meet the needs of each region”. We will also launch new vehicles that anticipate consumer needs and are exciting to drive.

To further explain what I mean, let me give you a brief overview of the direction we will be taking in each region.

Mr. Ichimaru, executive vice president, will oversee the Japanese market.

We launched the new Prius in Japan on May 18 and it has enjoyed wide acclaim with orders now exceeding 200,000 vehicles: a record. The new Prius is equipped with our latest hybrid system, and I believe the response to the vehicle shows our customers’ appreciation for its technology.

Strong sales are also the result of the Japanese government’s stimulus plan: the so-called “eco-car tax deduction” and the “scrap incentive for buying eco-cars.” I believe that wider adoption of eco-friendly vehicles will not only reduce CO2 emissions, but also lead the auto industry to focus more on environmental solutions that will help create a new, stronger economy. I would like to express my appreciation to the Japanese government for forming and implementing this policy in a timely manner, and hope that it will continue its efforts.

When it comes to the Japanese market, we must look at the entire market, including so-called “mini-vehicles” and used cars along with new cars. If we look at it this way, the size of the overall market is about 12 million vehicles. This compares to the traditional view of the new-car market, which excludes mini-vehicles and is expected to be less than 3 million units this year.

With this in mind, there are plenty of ways for us to increase sales as long as we provide attractive products. Furthermore, total vehicle ownership in Japan stands at 75 million vehicles, so business opportunities are abundant.

In order to approach our business from this new angle, we must reexamine our advertising and marketing as well. To that end, I am considering setting up a company that specializes in marketing. This new company will place the utmost priority on our approach to customers, and provide fresh ideas that will in the future be fed back to Toyota so that we can develop even better products.

Next, I would like to touch upon North America, which Mr. Niimi, executive vice president, will oversee.

Sales in the North American-market have dropped off sharply recently, but with vehicle ownership at 250 million units and with the population increasing, I firmly believe this market will recover.

And when it does, it may have a different look than today’s market with its focus on full-sized models. So we will need to be insightful in our approach to the full-sized-vehicle segment, where the market could shrink further.

That said, North America has been a major engine of growth for Toyota to this day, and it will remain an extremely important market for us. Toyota will further strive to establish a more autonomous operation in the region, continue planting roots in the local community, and work as a member of North American society to produce the best vehicles there.

As for the European market, Mr. Sasaki, executive vice president, will oversee this region.

Europe is full of major automakers, each with its own history and roots in national markets. Although Toyota has devoted a lot of resources to its European strategy over the years, to be more successful, we need to do more than just seek increased sales and market share. Instead, we need to develop a distinctive Toyota business model in the region so we are not lost in the crowd. In that regard, what distinguishes Toyota most is our hybrid technology. So, as stricter environmental regulations come into place, we are gradually shifting our focus to the hybrid segment. We are confident that this will create a stronger position for Toyota in Europe.

Europe is also a place where Toyota can learn about “automotive culture.” I have always admired the fact that cars play a major role in the lives of Europeans and that they love the experience of driving. Hopefully, we can find ways to transfer that excitement to other regions around the world.

Next, I would like to address emerging markets, such as China, Asia and South America. Mr. Funo, executive vice president, will oversee these regions.

These markets have amazing growth potential, and I can see that China will someday stand alongside the United States as a giant single market. In order to meet customers’ needs, we will – as always – take straightforward steps. First, we will take time to walk in our customers’ shoes, and then promptly launch competitive products that address their needs. Expanding our reach in these markets will help increase our overall sales volume and profits, so I am determined to establish proactive business plans in these areas.

This will require more than just introducing products that are available from other regions. We must make every effort to produce high-quality products targeted to regional needs and sell them at affordable prices.

We have had success with the Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle business model in emerging markets, and I would like to set up another business model for such markets.

These are the main points of my vision for Toyota’s markets around the world.

Now, let me turn to our product development and product line-up. Mr. Uchiyamada, executive vice president, will be responsible for these areas.

As I said earlier, I strongly believe that in order to achieve a low-carbon society, we must further enhance environmental technologies that achieve low fuel consumption. To that end, we will seek to improve the environmental performance of both our hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles.

However, this alone is not enough to ensure our success.

We also need to offer vehicles that bring joy to the driving experience and move people—emotionally. We also need to offer technology that anticipates peoples’ needs.

Together with Mr. Uchiyamada, I will work hard to develop cars that people fall in love with.

At the press conference in January, I talked about my desire to become “a president who is closest to the frontlines, or genba.” I believe that the essence of management lies in the genba, and Toyota employees play a vital role there.

A company’s competitiveness increases when its employees have a chance to develop and improve. There is a phrase we have always had at Toyota that says: “build quality in at each work process.” When each of our employees strives to do that, the result is high-quality cars. So, I believe that the basic principle of management is to think together and develop together with employees so we truly build quality into each stage of our work.

I have been with Toyota for just 25 years, which is short for a person taking up my position. But even during that time, I am thankful for the numerous opportunities to learn and to receive support from many people in many ways.

The reason Toyota has been able to grow is because of the strong support we have received from each and every one of our customers, dealers, suppliers, Toyota Group companies, and our predecessors in the company.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to them as well as our shareholders and stakeholders around the world.

I pledge to implement the steps I talked about today in a levelheaded manner, without being overzealous, while being united with others, and to never forget the gratitude I feel for these people.

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37 Comments on “New Toyota CEO: “We need vehicles that bring joy to the driving experience”...”


  • avatar

    I wonder what Toyota’s definition of “exciting to drive” is. Some of what he said is a political babble and some of what he said sounds good/reasonable. Talking is cheap, though. We’ll see…

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    and I can see that China will someday stand alongside the United States as a giant single market.

    um, someday? hasn’t this already happened?

    I will work hard to develop cars that people fall in love with.

    love them like a refrigerator or stove

    Toyota still doesn’t make anything that interests me; no matter how many times he mentions “contribute to society”.

  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    How to make current Toyotas joyful to drive?

    Perhaps an owners manual insert page; a full sheet of blotter acid.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Cars that bring joy to the driving experience don’t bring in profits.

    They need more Corollas.

    And Camrys.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    Holt shit that guy’s long winded.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @Billy Bob 2 The acid would certainly change the driving experience. However there is no perception altering, or mind altering substance on the planet
    that could make a Toyota any less ugly.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    A Yaris hatch would make me very happy if it was $7,999 new, not right up there when loaded with a Mazda3.

    I still lose my position, whatever I am doing, when I spot a 2nd gen MR2 from any angle or distance. Bring that back with modern drivetrain. Sell it for $17,999. Its a cheap halo car.

    I do not distrust Mr. Toyoda. The 5-10 minute speech certainly was not what D3 would have said. D3 would have misleadingly overemphasized temporary localized high spots in their lengthy death spiral and expressed optimism for whatever silly-labeled recent initiative they could claim credit for while relying on ignorance of audience.

    Imagine top level or two at GM taking immediate ashamed retirement for screwing up with UAW?

  • avatar
    Jonathan I. Locker

    Look at the difference between Toyota and GM.

    Toyota says: We are not making the cars that people want, so we need to make the cars that people want. I think that these things we are doing will lead us to build cars that people want…profits will follow.

    GM says: We ARE building the cars that people want, they just don’t know they want them, as we have been selling them crap for the past 30 years. Oh, and ignore the fact that we have also been saying that our cars are the cars that people want for the past 30 years…pay no attention to the sales numbers.

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    Umm, if this guy is sincere, GM is really, really doomed.
    Look what he’s doing – Toyota took responsibility for its mistakes, not just blaming the recession or credit crunch or fuel prices.
    The whole management group has been shaken up.
    Everyone has a clear direction.
    And its not about some fancy financial sleight-of-hand (swapping equity for pension benefits, etc). Its about building better cars for customers.
    Yes, it may have been long. But the crowd he was presenting to is not looking for a 10-second sound bite from CNN. These are serious people doing a serious job.
    What he seems to have given people is “purpose”. My experience is that many people in many different companies wish for the same “purpose”.

  • avatar

    I’m sure Toyota could make a Corolla that’s also fun to drive. I think it would attract even more buyers. Camry SE seems to be reasonably good.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I’m in with Johnny ro>

    If I could get a new yaris for ~ $8k new (under $9k out the door), I’d probably do that & donate the neon as a second car to my parents.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Toyota certainly is capable of making interesting and/or exciting vehicles. They’ve just decided they’re not profitable or high-volume enough, so they were cut. Bring em back!

    My first suggestion (which I’ve stated before):

    make a toyota version of the IS250. The base sedan (RWD 6MT) starts at $31K. Figure you can strip out some of the luxury goodies and get the price down under $25K. That’d be pretty compelling I would think. I’d certainly be interested. There’s a $10K gap between the Camry LE V6 and the base ES350. So cutting $6K out of the IS250 doesn’t seem overly agressive.

    cmon. go crazy on the cost cutting and offer a coupe version for $21K and make it the next Scion tC.

    From there, benchmark the Civic Si for the next Corolla XRS.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Say what you want about Toyoda and Toyota. My hat goes off to him for jumping on Toyata’s problem immediately by kicking butt and taking names. Not waiting 30+ years like….

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    commando1 :
    June 26th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Say what you want about Toyoda and Toyota. My hat goes off to him for jumping on Toyata’s problem immediately by kicking butt and taking names. Not waiting 30+ years like….

    Ditto++. At least they recognize they have a problem and know only they can resolve it.

    OldWingGuy, you are correct, GM is doomed against competitors with this mindset, especially since GM’s new government masters are undoubtedly worse than the old masters (if such a thing is actually possible).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “Enjoying the driving experience” doesn’t have to mean having an overtly sporty nature, it means finding driving pleasurable. It can help, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all.

    I actually own a base Sienna. It’s fun to drive, but in a very particular way: you can enjoy driving even while you’re having to drive around a number of young children. The ride is good, the driving manners are impeccable for a vehicle that large, and the ergonomics are such that you can operate most (all?) of the major controls while more distracted than you’d be in, say, a sports sedan. I looked at other minivans, and aside from the Caravan**, they all compromised the “minivan driving experience” somewhat.

    I think what he’s talking about is bringing Toyota’s game up a little in terms of the whole-car experience. They make a good product and they’re a safe buy, but they have to do a better job of building cars people want to buy, rather than cars that are the default choice.

    ** say what you will about the Caravan, it’s a good van. If it was made by a different company, one that I trusted, I’d have bought one.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Oh, Lord, not “boring” vs “fun to drive” again.

    I enjoy driving my Rav. Friends with newer ones tell me they enjoy their Ravs. The last time I looked at Edmunds, the Yaris reports included people who had downsized from 1/2 ton pickups and other large cars who were saying “Love my Yaris!”

    The base Camry might be boring but it’s also available in SE models, even with a manual, which are lively to drive, and XLE models, if you like something more luxurious at a pretty reasonable price. For technical whiz-bang, available in a hybrid (I just discovered one of our friends bought one and the reaasons cited had nothing to do with saving the planet; quiet and fuel economy were the first two things mentioned). The Malibu LSs and LTs are, at the very least, equally boring.

    The Cobalt, similarly, is as boring as the Corolla but the Corolla is a superior car. Unless you order the Cobalt SS. Toyota offered the Corolla XRS (?was that not the designation?) with a much more powerful engine than standard. They dropped it… I can only presume because of low sales. The Cobalt SS may sell better because it gets pushed in the sales channel and a domestic car has more appeal to the target market (I’m not going to actually say “appeals to rednecks” but y’all are free to think it, if you are so inclined).

    The Toyota brand, what does it stand for? If it’s quality, practical transportation (i.e., Chevrolet from Japan), boring isn’t a problem.

    Fun to drive won’t hurt but Toyota’s current “fun to drive” levels certainly aren’t hurting sales. If engineering more “fun to drive” into the cars diverts resources from packaging, reliability, comfort, convenience, fuel economy and safety, it’s probably not a real good thing for Toyota.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    They don’t need all their vehicles to be “fun to drive” like Mazda, or to an extent, Nissan. They just need to offer *something*. Right now their fastest car is the RAV4 V6. Their only sports car is the friggin Scion tC. In the past Toyota was able to keep their practical and reliable image while still offering pretty decent sports cars or interesting cars (Celica, MR2, Supra, etc). Even Honda saw fit to give us the Prelude and S2000. Toyota just needs something to keep their image from getting entirely too stodgy and boring. This isn’t to say they have to engineer fun to drive into all their vehicles, but it at least needs to be an attribute of somethings they make! Make the brand more fun or continue to watch the median buyer age creep into Buick territory.

    What I take away here is that his name is on the building and he wants to goose their reputation, even if it doesn’t do a heck of a lot in terms of volume. That’s not the only metric to look at.

  • avatar
    jeventures

    I bought a Mazda3 over a Toyota Matrix for the enjoyable driving experience. Toyota has a lot of ground to cover on that side of things. Example II: My dad bought my mom a Corolla over a Mazda6 because Toyota has a longer history of reliability…if mother had her way she would be in the Mazda. “If mom isn’t happy nobody is happy”. Her next car will surely be a Mazda unless Toyota makes a more enjoyable car. So maybe Toyota knows what they are doing making this shift. I’m a 24y old enthusiast and mom is an early 50’s RN yet we both want the same joy of driving. Maybe soon Toyota will make everybody happy. GM is certainly not going to stop them.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Well a glimmer of hope for a Supra return, I won’t hold my breath.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Enjoying the driving experience” doesn’t have to mean having an overtly sporty nature, it means finding driving pleasurable. It can help, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all.

    That nails it. The Detroit mistake was to assume that an enjoyable experience is derived from horsepower, horsepower and horsepower, that horsepower could only be derived from cubic inches, and that providing more ponies gave them an excuse to cut corners elsewhere.

    The consumer has left the bigger-is-better ethic behind. Now, they also want refinement, ergonomics and a sense that the sum of the package is greater than the parts.

    Look at the difference between Toyota and GM.

    Toyota says: We are not making the cars that people want, so we need to make the cars that people want. I think that these things we are doing will lead us to build cars that people want…profits will follow.

    GM says: We ARE building the cars that people want, they just don’t know they want them, as we have been selling them crap for the past 30 years. Oh, and ignore the fact that we have also been saying that our cars are the cars that people want for the past 30 years…pay no attention to the sales numbers.

    Exactly. Detroit’s hubris is a fatal flaw, and it’s clear from some of the comments that even bankruptcy wasn’t enough to awaken the Detroit Defenders. Detroit’s biggest supporters will never, never get it.

    It looks from the speech that Toyota is preparing for a smaller market, and is revisiting whether some of their assumptions about the consumer have been accurate. Had Detroit been this introspective this quickly, they wouldn’t have needed bailouts.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    ““What kind of cars will make people happy?” as well as, “What pricing will attract them in each region?” Then we must make those cars.

    The recently released third-generation Prius is a prime example of this spirit. I am certain this car will satisfy both the needs of society as well as our customers.”

    Toyota is more or less throwing all their eggs in the baskets of fuel economy, eco-friendliness, and ‘Toyota quality’ which generally involves decontenting in places where the customer doesn’t value or detect the cost saving measure.

    This isn’t new at all and it won’t work. The reason why Hyundai, Kia, and even Subaru are gradually eating Toyota’s lunch is because Toyota can no longer exact a price premium out of the ‘undecided’ customers who are cross-shopping these brands.

    Hyundai/Kia offer lower cost vehicles with longer warranties, cheaper manufacturing costs, and a comparable level of quality. Someone import oriented who is now planning on driving a boring appliance for the next 10 years will more than likely consider a Hyundai or Kia along with the Toyota.

    I would argue that Subaru’s clientele represents many of the undecided customers that would otherwise consider a Toyota or Volvo product IF they were actually any fun to drive. If Toyota ever considered folding Scion and giving the financial resources to Subaru, it would probably work out better for them in the end. I really don’t think that Toyota can hit both sides of the comfort / sport nexus well (if the history of the company is any indication) and an independent firm like Subaru that has the sporty and unique DNA would be a far better fit.

  • avatar
    WetWilly

    If I were a Detroit insider that had a clue, the thought of Toyota getting a swift, hard, kick-in-the-ass reality check from Old Man Toyoda-san and Grandson-san would make me crap my pants.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Whatever you think about his sincerity (I do believe it), just the ideas expressed are far ahead of anything I’ve ever heard from the mouths of Detroit’s bosses. If the proof’s in the pudding, the Big Three have a huge amount of explaining to do. Before anything else, some evidence from them about how they got where they are would be most welcome. I’m not holding my breath though.

  • avatar
    bluemt56

    Toyoda’s remarks reminds me of Dan Ackroyd’s quote as Ted Zalinsky in Tommy Boy to Chris Farley about the taxi cab air freshener pine smell……”Good, you’ve pinpointed it”. Step two for Toyota will be quite the task.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Bring Celica back!

  • avatar
    sti2m3

    I believe in Morizo!

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Toyota has made fun cars in the past such as the Celica, Supra, MR2 and, long ago, the 2000GT. More recently, they have ceded that market to Mazda and Nissan.

    The most encouraging comment in Toyoda’s speech was the admission that they need to figure out Europe’s “automotive culture”. However, if it’s to do us any good, they will have to bring the European models over here without anesthetizing them for the US market.

  • avatar
    50merc

    A darn fine leadership statement. No hubris, and it’s a clear statement of vision together with identification of specific goals to address.

    Don’t get too hung up on the word “joy.” The speech may have been translated from Japanese, and perhaps our word “pleasure” could have applied instead.

    And if he’s serious about selling cars at prices “that will attract” buyers, I suggest Toyota start by forbidding its distributors from adding mandatory packages of vastly overpriced add-ons that can inflate the tab on a Camry by a thousand bucks.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu” ???? yeah, right. I ran up against an arrogant, insolent, and unconcerned corporate wall when I bought my Corolla in 2000. I simply wanted to override the DRL and turn the damn things off. Several phone calls of ecsalating levels and even a requested letter to their North American “boss”(for lack of whatever title) I was left hanging. I distinctly remember a representative of thiers on the phone telling me “we don’t modify our cars” at which point I reminded her of who actually owned the car in question, and that I was only asking for the tech knowledge so I could do it myself.
    About a year later I found out on my own through internet chatter, that they had issued a tech bulletin on how to do just that.

    Fun to drive? Toyota? The second genration MR2 Turbo will always be a fond memeory.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    FJ is much fun to drive, on certain kinds of surfaces.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Agree with Sammy B when your fastest vehicle is a CUV something is wrong. Bring back the AE86! How hard is it to make an affordable, sporty RWD car?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    when your fastest vehicle is a CUV something is wrong.

    I would agree, except that it’s a false statement.

    Edmunds tested the V-6 Camry as having a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, which is only 0.1 second longer than the 0-60 time of a 328i. http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=109710/pageId=69305 Edmunds tested the V-6 RAV4 as having a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.

    One reason that we’ve seen a decline in sporty cars is because we can now produce practical cars with the same performance characteristics if we want them. A modern family sedan can outrun the sports cars of several years ago; it is no longer necessary to eliminate practicality in order to get good handling and acceleration. The kid hauler may not shine in the style and sex appeal departments, but in terms of just about every other way, they’re better cars where it counts.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    pch101 – good call. I think I was basing my rant on info that’s a few yrs old. If memory serves, when the RAV4 V6 came out it was the fastest. Or perhaps it was the X-runner. Whatever happened to that guy?!

    You make a very valid point about practical cars being fast now. But they could still use an image boost, which is a key piece of what the article ( I think) is trying to say.

    If a guy on the street says “You’re bland!” to Toyota, what can they do to disspell that notion? Try to explain how the Camry SE is fast. Chances are, as soon as the word “camry” is said, the guy is already gone. Compare that to Nissan (Z), Mazda (RX8, Miata), Honda (S2000), or even Hyundai (Tiburon & Genesis). Toyota is lacking here. now, if they could cook up a Camry ‘SHO’ (TRD?), we’d be in business. My vote (other than the decontened IS250 I floated in a previous post): Drop the lame body kit, and add a 6MT. It’d be a like a 2003 Maxima SE! Heck, put the TRD supercharger on *FROM THE FACTORY* and brag about it all day. Sure, you’d only sell 8000/yr, but that;’s not the point. For relatively small investment, they’d have something to talk about w/ the enthusiasts! And that’s the key here.

  • avatar

    tl;dr

    clifs notes?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Toyota does not know how to make fun cars anymore. Sure, they can build a car with all the right numbers, but that doesn’t equate to a fun to drive car.

    Which is more fun to drive?

    Lexus IS-F
    or
    BMW M3

    Celica GT-S
    or
    RSX Type-S

    MR2 Spyder
    or
    MX-5 Miata

    They had their chance to make a fun driving car. It was the Scion tC. How well did that turn out?

  • avatar
    Campisi

    Darn, I was hoping for the “Between the Lines” TTAC treatment. Oh well, I guess I’ll just wait for the next GM/Chrysler speech to be made.

    A modern family sedan can outrun the sports cars of several years ago; it is no longer necessary to eliminate practicality in order to get good handling and acceleration. The kid hauler may not shine in the style and sex appeal departments, but in terms of just about every other way, they’re better cars where it counts.

    Style and sex appeal is the only reason why the vast majority of sports car buyers actually go ahead and buy them. Let’s face it, sports cars are emotional purchases; dynamic capabilities are usually secondary to these concerns. For the buyer that does indeed value dynamic abilities beyond all others, perhaps they would resent having to carry around 1,500 pounds of extra weight in the form of a giant trunk and extra doors and whatnot just to have a decent sprint to sixty.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    “This isn’t new at all and it won’t work. The reason why Hyundai, Kia, and even Subaru are gradually eating Toyota’s lunch is because Toyota can no longer exact a price premium out of the ‘undecided’ customers who are cross-shopping these brands.” Exactly correct.

    Toyota sales down 40% in US and in Japan. They may never come back. Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Daewoo maybe, Suzuki, all the new Chinese cars, Tata, Mazda, Nissan, probably some of GM products (the Malibu is a nicer car than the Camry)- all these companies are now producing nicer cars/better value than Toyota.

    Toyota is so far out of the game they may never recover.

    And no, I did not forget Honda. Just wanted to save Honda for last. Toyota product does not match up well against any comparable Honda product.

    So the whole Toyota product line, save perhaps the Prius, is now second, third, fourth or fifth choice.

    Firing some of the management is just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Toyota Titanic.

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