The Frontal Cortex

Toyota

My next article for Seed will talk briefly about Toyota and some of the reasons for its astonishing success in one of the most competitive industries in the world. But I thought it was worth highlighting a quote from the former chairman of Toyota, Hiroshi Okuda, who stepped down yesterday. “I do not view efforts to address issues in the energy and environmental fields as a burden to industry or society,” Mr. Okuda said in a 2004 speech. “To the contrary, I believe they should be recognized as opportunities for growth.” As the CEO’s of the Big Three lobby Congress to not raise fuel economy standards, it’s becoming clear that they have missed the environmentally friendly bandwagon. This was a huge business mistake. I’m a GM shareholder, and I’m mad.

Comments

  1. #1 Babe in the Universe
    June 24, 2006

    Love your blog, but maybe you should sell that GM stock.
    Why has it taken so long to raise CAFE standards? It should have been done back during Clinton- Gore. If the UAW was influencing them, then it only hurt workers’ job future.

  2. #2 Left_Wing_Fox
    June 24, 2006

    Canada has been enjoying a resurgaence in subcompacts lately, including a number of 5-door hatchbacks (offering relatively spacious back-seats that fold down to provide ample cargo area), as well as the ‘smart’ brand fortwo minicars. Apparently there’s also an importer in Vancouver that is bringing 15-year old Japanese “keicars”.

    Seriously, if the american “Big Three’ want to win against japanese, korean, and soon chinese import automobiles, they should be pushing to get kei-car style exemptions for american made minicars. (They might also try and push for universal health care to eliminate the burden of pensions and health care coverage to workers and retirees)

  3. #3 Joseph j7uy5
    June 24, 2006

    The Big Three might be thinking too much of the experience of American Motors in in 1970′s. When the oil embargo hit, and the price of gad skyrocketed to 65 cents per gallon, American Motors came out with a line of economy cars.

    Unfortunately, the cars were awful. Fuel economy alone was not enough to get anyone to buy them, and the company soon went under. (Remember the Gremlin?).

    The thing is, the reason those economy cars did not sell, is that they were lousy cars. The gas milage idea was sound. But Detroit has avoided “economy” cars ever since. It is nutty, but it is the only explanation I can think of.

    BTW, I agree with the idea of universal health care. It would help quite a bit with that, and many other problems.

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