Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The rumors of Toyota's death have been greatly exaggerated

I find it hilarious how many commentators are now declaring that Toyota's fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Most of these pundits have fixated on the recent reports of quality issues with the Toyota Tundra. There have also been reports of slipping quality on a few other models, such as the Avalon, but the fact is, most of this talk is merely wishful thinking. Bob Lutz of GM recently stated that "they have some quality issues with a lot of their products." A lot? Come on. This is propaganda from the General.

Toyota has been lionized by much of the press for its impressive results and rapid conquest of US market share. The Americans (especially Ford) are in rough shape. This automatically makes the Japanese giant the main target for American car apologists. And much of this criticism has been overzealous. The fact is, while Toyota has had a recent rough patch, you can be damn sure the company won't stand for it long. Those problems will be fixed, and their customers will be treated like royalty during the process.

GM is doing a commendable job of fixing its organization. This is where its concentration should lie, not with trying to pull the wool over the eyes of industry watchers. Oh, and while the Americans were doing that, Toyota just posted its second-largest quarterly profit ever.

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