In September of 2007, Jim Press surprised the automotive world by leaving Toyota to become president of Chrysler LLC. Press, the first non-Japanese member of the Toyota board of directors, was generally considered to be a major factor in Toyota’s North American success, and his move still has people scratching their heads. It’s been generally assumed that Chrysler’s then owner, Cerberus, promised him a big pile of money. That assumption seems to be reinforced by Press’ inability to pay $1.35 million in debt and taxes last September, which he attributed to bonuses not received due to Chrysler’s meltdown. Still, regardless of the merits of working for the strugling Auburn Hills automaker, leaving Toyota in the first place seemed like a poor career choice.
It’s not likely that former Toyota exec Jim Press wishes he had been called down to congress instead of Jim Lentz, but he may just be trying to angle for a return his old company. Press took time out of his busy schedule of job-hunting and worrying about taxes to write an (apparently unsolicited) email to Automotive News [sub]. Judging by the portions that AN [sub] did publish, it should probably have gone straight to Toyota’s CEO… or the shredder.
Toyota doesn’t want me to speak out, but I can’t stand it anymore and somebody has to tell it like it is. Akio Toyoda is not only up for the job, but he is the only person who can save Toyota. He is very capable, and he embodies the virtues and character that built this great company. The root cause of their problems is that the company was hijacked, some years ago, by anti-family, financially oriented pirates. They didn’t have the character necessary to maintain a customer first focus. Akio does.
A dealer writes:
Say I order a pickup truck from the Chrysler mothership: an ’09 Dodge Mega Cab Cummins 4×4. MSRP: $59k. Invoice: $53k. Hold back: $2,400. Chrysler bills my bank for invoice ($53k). My bank gets the title and pays for truck. [ED: this is also known as floor-planning or flooring.] I take delivery of the truck, I sell the truck. Two weeks later, my floor-planning bank transfers the funds to Chrysler. First, I have to pay off the flooring liability: the Ram’s invoice price ($53k). Then I wait for the factory rebate money. That’s why it costs so much to operate a franchise dealership: the operating capital requirment is huge. We are fronting the manufacturer’s cash flow by overpaying for the units when we (the dealer) buy them from factory.
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