Saturday, February 06, 2010

Toyota's downturn tragedy : too big, too fast, too arrogant, critics shoot!

Akio Toyoda bows and apologizes at the news conference

Toyota's president left seclusion to apologize and address criticism on friday that the automaker mishandled a crisis over sticking gas pedals. Akio Toyoda, appointed to the top job at Toyota Motor Corp. last June, promised to beef up quality control, saying, "We are facing a crisis." Akio Toyoda, 53 years old and grandson of the Nagoya firm founder apologies. Taking responsibility, he also orders swift action to tackle the braking system problems of some of its highly-popular Prius hybrid gasoline-electric models, but stopped short of saying whether such steps would take the form of a recall or voluntary repairs. Quotation agency targets now the manufacturer and enters into the negative appreciation mary-go-round turmoil.

My report on RTL France today :

Toyota is such a symbol of success story that falling is not tolerated. And as if one damage of such magnitude was not enough in this world economic dire trend, some bad feeling of revenge from the American car manufacturers is felt in Nagoya today. Some sources said there is a desire in the US to glue similarity between this industrial Baron apologies and the apologizing of Hirohito to his people prior to surrender. To this nuts comments, I'd say: Totally preposterous and out of proportion. "It's not nice to see a killing, but worst is that we have a kind of racial animosity behind this downturn" one Japanese source told me.

One example with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who "has served notice he's "not finished" with Toyota". In such context: how keen will other foreigners be to invest and create jobs wherever Toyota is rooted? "Constantly looking for something wrong with Toyota, whether it's faulty accelerator pedals, slippery mats or something new amounts to little more than political harassment and populist hay making."

Will Toyota's pain be rivals' gains?

The storm might affect other manufacturers and others sectors of the industry as we saw with this pedal problem. "Not too fast" might be the wise comment regarding how globalization or new technologies introduction will go. Especially interesting is to know how the rush to the green car (Hybrid, EV etc.) 'gold mine' will affect the car makers and industrialists? Therefore logical consequences is that the financial sector again might very well bear the blame for pushing up gains without assuming responsibilities and in this field: car security.

Question number 1 now, how will Toyota win the next battle: Regain Consumers and investors confidence? "I will do my best" Akio Toyoda President said after apologizing:


When the Prius was launched, I met Akio Toyoda, I also met his father during the Aichi World Expo, and I believe this family of industrialists words. But intentions and realizations are two different folders. Toyota will have to reorganize. So, a long story to be continued...
(Sources: RTL, Nikkei, Investors, reporter's notes)

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