Autoblog: REPORT: Toyota chief admits company is in rough shape, "grasping for salvation"

argatoga

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REPORT: Toyota chief admits company is in rough shape, "grasping for salvation"

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/02/report-toyota-chief-admits-company-is-in-rough-shape-grasping/
Akio Toyoda appears to have brought with him the art of plain speaking to the office of company president, a position he's occupied at Toyota since June. Like most every other automaker these days, Toyota has been struggling, having seen its sales targets slip from 10 million units to a 2009 estimate of 7.3 million. But to listen to Toyoda is to understand that the company's mounting troubles can't be blamed solely on the state of the global economy, as he is using the stark language of How the Mighty Fall, a business book by author Jim Collins, to describe the company's state.

According to Automotive News, Toyoda says his company is "grasping for salvation," which is stage four of five outlined in Collins' book, with Toyota having already experienced Stage One, "Hubris Born of Success;" Stage Two, "Undisciplined Pursuit of More;" and Stage Three, "Denial of risk and peril." What's Stage Five? "Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death." Yikers.

We think Toyota is a long way from Stage Five, but with everything from a recent massive recall to currency fluctuations and eroding quality perceptions among the masses - to say nothing of mounting competition from Korean, American and European automakers - Toyoda appears to understand that his company has a lot to address in both the near- and long-term, and he's using unsubtle language in his early days in office to make sure the rest of the company knows it, too.
 

Spectre

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How unlike American Leyland, which is still denying many of their problems....

This step 1 in the road to recovery - admitting that you actually have a problem. Now let's see what he does to fix it. Hopefully less limpid cars will be forthcoming. And they have a very good chance of fixing the problem as they've identified it early enough and have large enough financial reserves to make changes.
 
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smib

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Lexus LF-A Toyota Supra. That of course won't sell enough to save them, but every auto company needs something like this. They have to be able to appeal to everyone on some level, and for many of the people here and those like us, just having a proper driver's car, be it something like a Miata or a Camaro, that tickles our fancy, will earn some respect. Then we won't constantly go on about them being an oatmeal manufacturer, and actually reccommend that people check them out, or even consider them ourselves. I mean, there is not a single Toyota that I'm interested in, and I own one.
 

2Billion

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Lexus LF-A Toyota Supra. That of course won't sell enough to save them, but every auto company needs something like this. They have to be able to appeal to everyone on some level, and for many of the people here and those like us, just having a proper driver's car, be it something like a Miata or a Camaro, that tickles our fancy, will earn some respect. Then we won't constantly go on about them being an oatmeal manufacturer, and actually reccommend that people check them out, or even consider them ourselves. I mean, there is not a single Toyota that I'm interested in, and I own one.
I'll add to that and say that they need a sports car for their engineers and stylists too. Nobody gets into automotive design to make a middle of the road family sedan. A project like that is something of a reward for the best engineers and designers in the company.
 

thevictor390

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Scion tC is quite a nice little car from my test-drives. I would recommend that to the right person. But biggest selling point of their sportiest car is that it has a lot of interior space for its size...
 

racingfan1

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Here comes another one of racingfan1's quickly thrown together shit ideas, this one to help Toyota:


A new Celica. Not the FWD-only T230. I didn't really mind the looks of it, it just needed 4WD and more power.

Supra replacement/new Supra. Turbo V6 or V8.

And a whole new Camry. One slightly less bland, but not too radical.


Obviously, there's more they could do, but this is a start. Also, because I thought of it, it probably won't work. :p
 

Donington

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How about actually making an Interesting car then, Toyota?
 

Blind_Io

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Congratulations, Toyota! In the late 90s and early 2000s you announced that you wanted to chase GM, well, you made it! You are now in a similar situation to GM, your good name has been somewhat tarnished and your quality is down while your prices remain high. Pat yourself on the back, you achieved your goal of being like General Motors.

Can I just point out that I saw this on the horizon a decade ago?
 

nsx_23

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Lexus LF-A Toyota Supra. That of course won't sell enough to save them, but every auto company needs something like this. They have to be able to appeal to everyone on some level, and for many of the people here and those like us, just having a proper driver's car, be it something like a Miata or a Camaro, that tickles our fancy, will earn some respect. Then we won't constantly go on about them being an oatmeal manufacturer, and actually reccommend that people check them out, or even consider them ourselves. I mean, there is not a single Toyota that I'm interested in, and I own one.
I'm in the same situation as you are atm.

My little Echo actually isn't too bad a drive, and if I wanted to upgrade to something new there just isn't anything in the current Toyota range that takes my fancy.
 

smib

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Here comes another one of racingfan1's quickly thrown together shit ideas, this one to help Toyota:


A new Celica. Not the FWD-only T230. I didn't really mind the looks of it, it just needed 4WD and more power.

Supra replacement/new Supra. Turbo V6 or V8.

And a whole new Camry. One slightly less bland, but not too radical.


Obviously, there's more they could do, but this is a start. Also, because I thought of it, it probably won't work. :p
That sounds pretty good to me.
 

MacGuffin

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The problem is not to design one desirable car.

The problem is to design all their cars in a way they are desirable to the targeted group of customers.

And there is still valid what Jemery Clarkson said in his "Motorworld" program nine years ago: They're good when it comes to imitating others -- some very nice cars have come out of that. But they're still terrible when they bring their own ideas on the market.

Latest example is the I.Q.: What a pathetic, ugly little vehicle. And what's its use anyway?
 

TC

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I just think they've gotten lazy in their success, just like GM. Back when they were still trying to prove something, they made some truly great vehicles. I love my Toyota to death, but I wouldn't trade it for a new one, despite the massive value difference. That also explains why Toyota got rid of all their performance vehicles; they weren't making as much profits. They're just lazy and maybe some problems like this will finally wake them up.
 

GM_IV

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I just think they've gotten lazy in their success, just like GM. Back when they were still trying to prove something, they made some truly great vehicles. I love my Toyota to death, but I wouldn't trade it for a new one, despite the massive value difference. That also explains why Toyota got rid of all their performance vehicles; they weren't making as much profits. They're just lazy and maybe some problems like this will finally wake them up.
I'm in total agreement with this. They did get lazy and decided to use some really cheap materials. All the desirable cars were killed because their profit margins were not nearly as good or in the case of the Supra sold poorly in quite a few markets. There is no question its cheaper to make an ES250 than it is to make a Cressida, nobody was fooled about the quality of the ES...so they went with the profitable route...kill the higher quality but less profitable car. I also will never get rid of my Cressida, especially not for a newer Toyota.
 
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2Billion

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As someone who actually went out and spent money on a new Toyota, they've built themselves a bit of a perception problem as well. As much as I like my car, going into a Toyota showroom none of the designs really grab you. No matter how good they may drive, the majority of the lineup looks quite unambitious, which doesn't help when you're across the street from other companies that are really trying. Truth be told, I only even drove the Matrix because it was the body style I was looking for and in my price range (and after the Kia Soul really disappointed me, I was hoping I wouldn't have to take a 2 hour drive to find a decent car), not because the design really grabbed me. I bought it because it actually turned out to be a lot better than the design would suggest, though admittedly if a Mazda dealership was in town that would have tipped me towards the 3.
 

2Billion

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You can't very well sell cars by saying "our cars are utter shit," can you?
 
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