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April 09, 2005


Fascinatin' tale. And it resonates for anyone who's ever worked in the corporate world of "My way or the highway' groupthink.

Got a problem? Hire a consultant. Didn't solve the problem? Fire the consultant. BUT DON'T CRITICIZE THE CEO. After all, it's the same strong but wrong ethos that got us into Iraq.

I've got 3700 miles on my 2004 Prius. Neil's description of it is dead on. But I wonder if it isn't other Japanese automakers that are at least as threatened by Toyota as Detroit.


I work in the auto industry (driving my 1991 Honda, which still makes better gas mileage than Ford's hybrid, increasingly regularly down to Dearborn). And I gotta say, the auto industry everywhere seems to be pretty fearful of Toyota. I think Hyundai will surprise people in a few years. But yeah, Toyota scares people. And with its scion division...

Good thing the husband's new autosupplier project is for Toyota, good thing he kept his Japanese relatively fresh...

empty, no kidding you work in the industry? any hints as to what you do?

I sat in a G6; I think the interior is pretty nice. All the 'buff books' say the car is adequate, though, and the magazines, not newspapers, are the traditional places for smart consumers to research vehicles. Ten years ago you had much less auto coverage in papers; nearly all of it sucks. You can do much better on the web, and certainly in the mags.

One problem with Toyota - their styling sucks. Of course their quality is industry-leading, but writers do not bash the company for how dull their cars look. I mean, the G6 is better looking, IMO, (and I'd bet a focus group would agree) than half of Toyota's car lineup. So there is pro-Toyota bias (mechanically and on build quality, they deserve it, though).

Dan Neil is a great writer, but from what I know he's off base in targeting Lutz. Lutz does not have unilateral power in GM, and his ability to rein in certain 'problem vehicles' is not unlimited. I think Lutz is a car guy, and needs more power, not less.


I'm not technical at all. Just a lowly consultant, one of the army now employed by the big three.

I agree about Toyota styling (at least their standards). Mr. emptywheel and I bought a non-Japanese car for our last car because we were bored with the bigger japanese cars. But I do think their cars targeted to younger people (scion, Matrix) are pretty good.

Do read the full Neil article. He is saying that the natural tendancy (can Lutz, which I've heard from people who work with GM here) should be expanded to include Wagoner.

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