With Toyota having recently undergone the worst period in its history, the grandson’s founder and man at the helm of the Japanese auto giant looks to be ready to make big changes in order to get the company back on track. More than just an executive, Akio Toyoda is a well-known car buff who loves to get out on the race track, so its no surprise that he wants to instill some passion into Toyota’s lineup of models.
In an interview with Automotive News, Toyoda admitted that its most important model, the Camry, is now facing serious market pressure from competitors such as General Motors, Ford and Hyundai. “Look at the Ford Taurus. It may be making a comeback. GM also has Camry fighters. And they’ve been done with a fun-to-drive touch. And Hyundai is coming up, and they’re looking good,” said Toyoda. “So we have to start asking, ‘Can we just keep doing the Camry like this?’”
Fortunately for Toyota it has survived the recession and is back to profitability after recording its first ever loss. The recall crisis seems to have subsided as well, with sales signifying that current and past Toyota owners weren’t overly phased by the fiasco. The problem, however, will be getting new buyers from other brands. To do this Toyota will need a more exciting Camry. It will also need more exciting entry-level models to bring in first-time buyers.
To solve that problem, Toyoda said he wants to focus more on the “neglected” Scion brand – which will receive two new models in the next 12 months, including the second generation tC and all-new iQ mini car. Originally the Scion brand was exciting, but Toyoda admits that recently the Scion lineup has become “more like the regular Toyota vehicles.”
Also on the burner is the much-touted FT-86 entry-level sports car, which Toyoda did not comment on.
He does have high hopes for the future, however, commenting that lessons have been learned and that, “if we can apply those lessons one at a time, it won’t be long until we’re back where we were.”
[Source: Automotive News]