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Slipping Behind, Toyota Racing to Line Up Partners

Maker shifts strategy as it seeks outside help.

by on Feb.10, 2012

Toyota is working with Tesla to bring the RAV4 EV to market later this year.

With what one jealous competitor once described as “more money than god” in its treasury, Toyota has traditionally been a company that liked to keep things in-house.  Even when it worked with outside suppliers it focused on those within its extended family, or keiretsu.

“Toyota was one of the companies that liked to do things its own way,” noted Yoshi Inaba, President and COO of Toyota Motor North America.

But that strategy is shifting fast, the senior executive acknowledged during an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.  In a subsequent conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, Inaba hinted there could be a “lot more” joint ventures to come in the near future.

Insight!

The maker has already lined up a number of high-profile partners – ranging from Microsoft to Intel, as well as traditional competitors, such as Ford and BMW.  In many cases, this reflects the changing nature of the auto industry, which is facing a need to ramp up its focus on high technology.  But it also suggests that Toyota might be paying the price for past hubris, thinking it could do everything on its own.

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