When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

25 September 2006

Toyota to Detroit: We will bury you

Toyota Motor Corp. has a message for its struggling rivals in Detroit: We will bury you.

Of course, Toyota's leaders are far too diplomatic and cautious to say something as outrageous as that out loud.

Instead, Toyota delivers its message in more subtle ways. Such as bringing the new Lexus LS 460 to a hotel within sight of Ford Motor Co.'s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters and innocently demonstrating the fact that the new top-of-the-line Lexus has a feature that allows the car to park itself, with the driver playing a minor supporting role.

This is one of those see-it-to-believe-it features. But the LS 460 can use an array of sonar distance-finding devices linked to the navigation system that can slide the car into a parallel-parking slot without the driver touching the steering wheel.


The Lexus LS 460 represents, in one elegant package, most of the reasons why Toyota is widely expected to become the world's No. 1 auto maker sometime within the next two years. It is a technological tour de force by a company that, relative to its strapped U.S. competition, has bottomless resources. Tricks like automatic parking technology are a lot easier to do if your company is making billions, and has a top-shelf credit rating. For GM and Ford, Detroit's junk-rated giants, everything comes harder.
Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2006 - Eyes on the Road: Toyota Sends Quiet Message (subscription required)

1 comment:

MikeS said...

Interesting article and I agree with most points but I find it more telling that while Toyota is beating the stuffing out of GM and Ford, they still can not get a handle on pop culture and the possible customer.

For example, I fall into the target market for their new flagship car. I'm over 45, have a fair amount of income, owed two BMWs in the near past and so on. So when I go to look at their video, I find that their video will not run on my Apple Macintosh. Lets get a grip here, Windows is so passe at the high end and with the up and coming youth market. Apple has the energy and the panache that Toyota wants so much to achieve and yet, they can not let me play a simple video of their flagship car.

Sorry Toyota, you missed the boat and I dont forget things like this. I dont care how good the car is and since I can not see it on my platform of choice, I make the assumption that everything on the car is for the low common denominator. And Toyota, that is NOT how I want to make a statement.


Mike Sweeney