It's a Family Affair at Toyota

Press and News Toyota

Akio ToyodaAs Obama takes on the tough job of running our country, Toyota Motor Corp. is also looking at some very tough times. So, it came as no surprise that right before our inauguration, the carmaker named a new leader to run its organization. It’s fitting actually, because Toyota is the size of a small country if you think about it.

This one is a family affair.  Akio Toyoda is the grandson of Toyota’s founding father and he is talking about adopting a “back to basics” approach – which may be exactly what the company needs to rebound from a sales slump with no end in sight.

For many years, Toyota management rejected the idea of letting Akio run the show, saying he was too young and inexperienced. Now, in a crisis, they’re turning to him. Hopefully, he can help introduce some new school ideas that the old-timers will be able to get on board with.

In 2007, Toyota was the most popular car sold in California. More than 20% of all the new vehicles registered in California in ’07 were Toyotas. But, ’08 was a debacle, and everyone suffered, not just the Big 3. I was on a Toyota dealership’s lot the other day and the salesmen were standing around acting as if someone had just died. I wouldn’t want to be a car salesman right now. It’s got to be a lonely job

There’s no doubt that new blood can help a flagging company. Toyota is hoping this 52-year-old “youngster” can get them moving in the right direction. What will his first move be? If I were him, I’d get a myself a Lexus LS 600h L hybrid (the most expensive car Toyota makes, retailing at $104,750) and a hotter secretary. (or to be politically correct, I should say “an attractive administrative assistant”) But, that’s just me.

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