Toyota Motor Corp. has a message for its struggling rivals in Detroit: We will bury you.Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2006 - Eyes on the Road: Toyota Sends Quiet Message (subscription required)
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.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson