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Shoichiro Toyoda Lashes Out at Toyota Execs

Honorary chairman blames management for copying business practices of U.S. automakers

 |  Jun 22 2009, 12:56 PM

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One of the last things Shoichiro Toyoda did as honorary chairman at Toyota Motor Corp., was to assemble all of the company’s executives and give them a tongue lashing. Toyoda even called out president Katsuaki Watanabe and blamed him, as well as those other executives in charge of the Japanese automaker, for leaving behind the company’s long-standing business practices to chase the quick-buck. He said they followed the lead of now-bankrupt automakers like GM and Chrysler, a path that has put the company in a serious financial bind.

While Toyota has posted significant profits for years, last year it posted a $4.5 billion loss and expects to lose even more ($5.7 billion) next year.

Toyota has always been known for building economical cars and for using a business practice called kaizen, where small improvements are constantly made to improve products and production. It is expected that Akio Toyoda (pictured above), the new Toyota president and grandson to the company’s founder, will once again begin to return the company to an economically-minded, slow growth corporation. Akio will officially take over the Toyota helm tomorrow.

Industry experts also believe that in order for Toyota to stay on top it must not only move away from luxury cars and large trucks, but it must also look outside the United States develop vehicles for emerging markets.

[Source: Bloomberg]