Toyota’s hometown woes

Interesting Ken Belson article on the stagnating auto market in Japan which is impacting all the vendors who provide parts and services for Toyota. As the Japanese car companies move more and more production overseas, it is more clear than ever that Japan must move beyond making things to providing services, creating intellectual property, or other knowledge work. The crux of the matter is that many Japanese businesses excel at refining production processes so it is very hard for them to consider a world beyond manufacturing.

Last year, the company [Toyota] earned more than America’s Big Three automakers combined [!!!]. Still, the job market in its hometown peaked a decade ago, and workers can no longer take raises and bonuses for granted. Every year, Toyota Motor builds more cars and buys more parts overseas, and its hundreds of domestic suppliers are having to compete ever harder with foreign rivals, sometimes by cutting prices so low that many cannot make ends meet. Many are quietly closing their doors because their outlook is bleak.

Cue Clayton Christensen and his theories on “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”
Rethinking the Town That Toyota Built


Toyota 2000GT

A nice history of Toyota’s 2000GT, a car I would collect if I was ever affluent enough to do so.
2000GT opened doors internationally for Toyota


Kakyou blogs new Toyota Prius

Some shots of the brand new Toyota Prius. There is a LOT of pent-up demand for this one. It will sell well! Larger, faster, and more efficient than the last one. Go Toyota!
KAKYOU’S WORLD DOMINATION DIARY: Watch it! Always look both ways before crossing!
UPDATE: Wired News: Toyota Says Hybrids Can Be Cheap


The Big 3 can’t touch this

I would love to go see the Prius manufacturing line. To think that Toyota can make the 80 mpg hybrid-electric Prius car on the same line that they make 4 other traditional sedans is a testament to Toyota’s capabilities. I would highly doubt that any of the domestic US companies building hybrids could say the same. My next car may be a Prius as well!

The auto maker is aiming to sell 76,000 units of the new Prius a year globally, with 36,000 of that in Japan. Actual sales of the previous Prius was 28,000 units last year.
But the sales target is already looking extremely conservative. Toyota said on Thursday that orders in Japan reached 17,500 units in the first month. In the United States, where it goes on sale this month, orders topped 10,000 as of September 24.

Yahoo! News – Hybrids Can Be Cheap to Make, Toyota Says
UPDATE: this alone (Prius owners may be able to drive in HOV lanes with only one occupant) would be worth buying a Prius for!!!
Toyota Prius Owners and the State of California Could Benefit From Plan to Allow Hybrid Vehicles in HOV Lanes