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Why Toyota Is Afraid Of Being No 1


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Interesting article on Toyota in USA...

Why Toyota Is Afraid Of Being Number One

It's overtaking Detroit—with trepidation. Now, the carmaker is relying on ever-savvier PR to avoid the U.S. backlash it dreads

Ask consumers why Toyota may soon be the largest automaker in the world, and they will point to the Camry. Or the Prius. Or the rav4. (It's the cars, stupid.) Ask manufacturing geeks, and they'll tell you it's about just-in-time production and a maniacal focus on constant improvement. (It's the engineering, dummy.)

But there's another drama behind the carmaker's tire-squealing momentum. It's a story that might be called: How Toyota is winning the hearts and minds of America.

With a deft combination of marketing, public relations, and lobbying, Toyota has done a remarkable job over the past 20 years of selling itself as an American company. That drives the Big Three to distraction. Here's Chrysler communications chief Jason Vines: "The thing I resent is Toyota wrapping themselves in the American flag," he says. "We still employ more people and contribute more to the economy."

Who cares what Detroit thinks? Well, strange as it sounds, Toyota does. Its executives may privately relish victory at the expense of General Motors (GM ), Ford (F ), and Chrysler (DCX ), but here's the truth: Toyota is afraid to be No. 1—or at least what that implies. And not just because one of its slogans is "Run scared." It's because the extra scrutiny could undo much of the hard work of the past 20 years. "We constantly need to think about the potential backlash against us," Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe tells BusinessWeek in an exclusive interview. "It's very important for our company and products to earn citizenship in the U.S. We need to make sure we are accepted."

Full article at:


EDIT:Sorry I posted this under ask an expert-general - meant to post it under general. Can an admin move it there please?

Edited by Saturn
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