Akio Toyoda: My Company Is "Grasping For Salvation"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Akio Toyoda faces the music at the Japan Press Club [Video available via Bloomberg]

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Oct 02, 2009

    @ Steven Lang A massive number of retirees compared to Hyundai/Kia, Honda, and Nissan. Completely paid for and locked away, unlike GM's etc funded by (defaulted) IOUs. An American infrastructure that has done virtually no major realignments other than the long overdue closing of the NUMMI plant in Fremont. You could be onto something there but a (hybrid-everything) change is coming. No real plans to discontinue or consolidate product lines other than the Avalon. Keep in mind that Toyota’s Xb and Xd are not only sales losers but also de-facto cannibals for the Yaris and Corolla. My information is that process is under way right now, and will be "aggressive" (well sort-of). Absolutely no sporting pretensions within any of their best selling cars (Yaris, Corolla, Camry). This is proving to devastate their ability to grow with the younger generation in a way that’s eerily reminiscent of GM’s recent struggles. As much as I lament it myself, there seems no shortage of repeat buyers and Toyota know the younger generation do understand the value/appliance they need. An unyielding tendency to shove convoluted designs down the throat of consumers while the strongest competition offers far more beautiful car bodies. Are they bland or not? Bland is down the middle (50%), neither pleasing (%25) nor offending (%25) anyone. The "look" of a vehicle rates low down in the purchase decision priorities. Toyota has chosen to integrate their current vehicle designs as hybrids… which seldom works when you want to register strong and lasting growth. Ah yes, but they're betting the farm on $4/gallon (or higher) gas in the next 3-5 years. Every model will have a hybrid drive train. Probably some hybrid exclusively. I expect they'll be best sellers and their hybrid manufacturing capability will leave others in the dust.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Oct 02, 2009

    I happened across the 2008 The Car Book. Not a bad publication but it needs a counterbalance to keep things in perspective, something like the Consumer Reports Annual Auto issue. Anyway, I was somewhat surprised to see that the Toyota and Honda warranties are rated Poor. Not just below average, but Poor. Some of their vehicles also failed crash tests by a wide margin. Some Hyundai models scored high marks on reliability, fit and finish, perceived quality, NVH, warranty, and crash test results. Recent sales numbers show they are on a roll. Is Hyundai about to have a breakout year? Is Hyundai firmly on plan to punch a hole in Honda and Toyota sales?

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Oct 03, 2009

    The one thing Toyota has going for it when it comes to reinventing itself: they don't make junky cars. Bland cars, perhaps, but not junky.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Oct 03, 2009

    BTW:GM has been making the "we've changed" claim every decade since 1980. Or claiming the new product was going to drive the Japanese "back into the seas". Don't know where anyone ever got the idea they "never did". Witness the full page newspaper apology ads they tooks out a few years back as one example in a long line of public acknowledgents of their screw ups... but we're different now. Please. Heard it too many times over the course of 4 decades.