Toyota edges closer

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 17, 2006

On Friday Toyota will announce production plans for 2007 and give a firm indication that it will likely pass GM as the world’s number one automaker. If reports in the Japanese press are correct, the likely figure will be 9.45 million, including sales of Toyota’s Daihatsu and Hino subsidiaries. That’s a rise of around 400,000 over 2006, despite Toyota delaying the introduction of some new models, such as the new Corolla in the U.S., to ensure quality standards are maintained. The numbers certainly sound about right given Toyota chief Katsuaki Watanabe had already said the company is aiming for sales of 9.8 million by the end of 2008. What’s more, with Toyota’s tendency to outstrip targets, 10 million units in a year can’t be far away.

Reader Comments

John Acheson

December 19, 2006 3:24 PM

Toyota has a secret weapon. It's that old MBA term called "kaizen" or continuous improvement. But, which bottom line matters? One way is through the continuous improvement of vehicle efficiency. Porsche's hybrid circa 1900 got 83% efficiency and only slung 2 of every 10 gallons of petrol into the atmosphere. But the billion internal explosion engines that run around Earth today waste 8 barrels of oil for every 10 pulled out of the ground. That was until the funny looking little Prius came along...The 2nd gen released to the states was reported at 32% efficiency by Toyota. It got another barrel of oil to the rear wheels. Then in five short years at 1% continuous improvement per year, the 3rd gen Prius hit showrooms at a phenomenal 37% vehicle efficiency. After declining an estimated .5% per year from the 1900's to 20% for most of man's billion vehicles, the Prius went backwards...Well; actually the Prius jumped into the future and delivered 5 points of improvement! Taking into consideration the 1,000 engineers that threw out 80 designs to get to the 1st gen Prius, this improvement is astounding! Kaizen can be used in improving assembly and manufacturing, but what about improving operating costs for the user... Toyota has a secret weapon: putting money in the pockets of its customers. By saving foreign barrels of oil, domestic gallons of gas, and lowering your bills from your local mechanic, Toyota's secret weapon puts money in its customer's pockets.

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