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by Chris Anderson-Peters

Toyota President Akio Toyoda believes winning over new customers will be a challenge following the global financial crisis. According to the grandson of the founder the problems with his company started back in 2003 amid a massive global expansion.

In an interview with Autonews Mr Toyoda said the increased production and massive growth in sales outgrew his company’s human resources which meant “we maybe couldn’t apply the Toyota Way as thoroughly as we should have.”

Today, the world’s largest automaker is back in the black. Nonetheless it is still besieged by about 300 state and federal U.S. lawsuits, investigations by U.S. regulators and a bruised reputation. US sales fell in early 2010 due to a recall relating to acceleration issues.

In order to regain customer trust and win back market share, the Big T has offered very tempting incentives in the US (which run until June 1). This has seen sales for the brand soar 26 per cent in April.

We wanted to make sure that February was the bottom; that’s why we did the ambitious incentives,” Toyoda told Autonews.

Toyoda is feeling increasing pressure in the US to match rivals GM and Ford, saying the incentives to win back customers was necessary in order to remain relevant.

This was highlighted in a Customer Reports April Survey where Honda and Ford had toppled Toyota as the US champion of customer loyalty.

When Toyoda took the reins in June last year, the company was in the red with production base ballooning. Over the short period in charge Mr Toyoda seems to have turned the company’s fortunes around with Toyota now on the road to recovery.

The negative media attention towards Toyota in the U.S. has not affected sales in Australia with Toyota Australia continuing to lead the market ahead of Ford and Holden.

Source: Automotive News




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