QOTD: Toyota, Not Tesla, As A Force Of Disruption

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
qotd toyota not tesla as a force of disruption

Writing in Bloomberg View, former EIC Ed Niedermeyer has published a crtical essay of Tesla, albeit one with a fresh angle: Toyota, one of Tesla’s main automotive partners, is in fact the true force of disruption in the automotive world.

Although Niedermeyer touches mainly on Toyota’s efforts in manufacturing and quality (namely, kaizen), which disrupted Detroit’s stranglehold on the automotive market, other improvements come to mind. Lexus disrupted German dominance of the luxury segment, while the Prius is the world’s most successful hybrid car. Even if the company is anathema to enthusiasts, Toyota’s contributions to the broader automotive world are immense.

On the other hand, Niedermeyer takes a much more grounded (or dim) view of Tesla – you won’t find any appeals to a utopian society of autonomous EVs, as one analyst touted this past week. According to Ed

“Auto industry success is a marathon, not a sprint … and at current volumes, Tesla is barely walking.”

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

More by Derek Kreindler

Join the conversation
4 of 204 comments
  • Ruggles Ruggles on Mar 02, 2014

    According to NADA guides: Highest/lowest retention • Highest retaining segment - Subcompact cars with an average retention rate of 54.4% • Lowest retaining segment - EV cars with an average retention rate of 39.9% Highest performing cars • Mainstream cars - Subaru Impreza 63.5% - Honda Fit 62.7% - Scion xB 60.6% • Luxury cars - Lexus IS 57.8% - BMW 5 Series 54.5% - Audi A4 54.3% • Hybrid/EV cars - Lexus CT 62.4% - Toyota Prius 54.3% - Kia Optima 53.6%

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 02, 2014

    I do think EVs will never be viable, unless they are subsidised. They will become viable once crude reaches obscene levels. ICE engine are far more flexible and no matter how much technology is provided for the next few decades you will not charge a capacitor or battery to run a car for 100 miles let alone 500 miles in several minutes. From a green perspective, there are diesels that are now lower polluting than some EVs. Remember the electricity has to be generated. Wind and solar with a mix of other energy forms are really a pipe dream. We are unfortunately hooked of all forms of energy. We should do our best to lower emissions and reduce consumption. But this shouldn't be subsidised. If any industry requires subsidisation, then it's not viable and shouldn't exist. There are other ways in which the US could have choosen to reduce its CO2 emissions, but it choose an expensive route. So, keep on borrowing so the better heeled can drive EVs, whilst the biggest polluting vehicles are the vehicles of people who can't afford to maintain them properly.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Mar 03, 2014

    "Even if the company is anathema to enthusiasts" Speak for your self. I've driven, worked on, and dreamed about some very desirable Toyota's over the years. Lately they seem to come with an L instead of a T over the grill, but they're still sweet.

  • Ruggles Ruggles on Mar 03, 2014

    RE: "The public is kicking your fading TRDyota to the curb with a surging Chrysler almost catching JapqanInc's government motors flagship last month, only 4800 sales behind. Probably if you count Canada, Mopar beat your crummy appliance maker in North America. Ram is Canada's longest lasting truck after all. Kudos to Ford for almost beating TRDyota in retail sales." Chrysler has its own thing going. High points include the new diesel truck and the Grand Cherokee. Flops include the Dart. Fiat/Chrysler has a LONG way to go to be in Toyota's league.