April 26, 2007

Toyota races ahead of GM

Business Week has an interesting interview with Yuki Funo, chairman & CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA. Toyota surpassed General Motors in worldwide sales globally in the first quarter.

You would think that GM and Ford execs, given the fact they all grew up here, should have a better idea of how to design and package a family sedan and minivan, yet these are two product segments where you and Honda (HMC) have done especially well against the Big Three.

[Yuki Funo] Increasingly, we're doing the development of our vehicles in the States. The Camry chief engineer is a Japanese man. Why the heck does he develop the most favorite car in the U.S.? That Camry car doesn't sell in the Japan. It's a failure. Why? He applies himself to understanding what the customer wants. He visits here and learns things. If we talk about the level playing field, what is it? He had to overcome such a big handicap being Japanese to create a car that's the top seller in America. It's very difficult to talk about what the level playing field is.

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