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Posts Tagged ‘Yoshi Inaba’

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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Toyota Shifting More Hybrid Production to U.S.

Prius could follow, says senior executive.

by on Feb.08, 2012

Toyota has big plans for its U.S. plants, says Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motors North America.

Toyota Motor Co. plans to move production of the hybrid version of its Highlander SUV from Japan to an assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, the company’s top North American executive said during an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.

The move will be part of a broader – and ongoing shift in production out of the Japanese home market. It is likely to transform the U.S. into a major export base for the Japanese giant and it could eventually result in Toyota bringing production of the popular Prius hybrid to the U.S. as well, said Yoshi Inaba, president and chief operating officer at Toyota Motor North America.

Your Inside Source!

That’s good news for the U.S. economy, in general, and the Princeton community, in particular.  Speaking to a special meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago, Inaba said that by moving the Highlander Hybrid to Indiana – while also expanding production of the conventionally powered van – Toyota will ill create an additional 400 jobs at the plant, which will undergo a $400 million upgrade.

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Toyota Congressional Hearings: What to Expect

Here comes political posturing, pointing and posterior protection with your tax dollars at work, or is it non-work?

by on Jan.31, 2010

As all of the House is up for re-election this year. Need we say more?

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is embroiled in two controversial U.S. recalls for unintended acceleration involving ~5.3 million vehicles so far, and sluggish-to-sticking accelerator pedals, at least 2.3 million vehicles.

In addition, this week Toyota is halting production at five North American assembly plants that make the affected vehicles to free up revised pedal assemblies for repairs. The company apparently knew of the problem and has been working on a fix for quite a while. This is shaping up as a classic coverup, according to the many critics of the company.

Millions of  heretofore mostly satisfied Toyota owners are potentially affected, and until root causes are established and fixes put in place, the anxiety of the unknown continues in the growing and increasingly skeptical media coverage.

As all of the House is up for re-election later this year, amid a growing voter revolt against incumbents for their partisanship, “pay for play” politics and lack of action on unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression, among other things, this sets the stage for the classic, three-ring, political circus.

The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a February 10th hearing titled, “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public at Risk?” Lest you have forgotten, this same committee held the well-publicized Firestone tire recall hearings back in 2000. I know, I was there.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee also said that it would hold a hearing on February 25th to look at unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Bart Stupak, Democrat Michigan, and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said, “Staff has met with Administration officials and Toyota officials as part of our investigation. Members of Congress and consumers need to know exactly what the problem is, how to fix the problem and what must be done to protect drivers of Toyota vehicles,” he said.

Translation: Private meetings will not get me or any other congressman the press and TV footage I need to convey to voters that I should be re-elected and keep my lucrative job and medical insurance plan. (Alternate translations for this and all of the following are of course welcome in our comment section. Civil language please. )

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Comedy or Tragedy?

Expect: Statements that allow Stupak and other congressmen to express to the cameras their deep concern, while questioning the effectiveness of regulatory agencies. I do not expect he will explain why we need an expensive public hearing when the committee has already been meeting privately with Toyota and NHTSA on this matter. Moreover, both need to solve the problem or problems – and they will – without Congressional “help.”

Also expect: Leaked documents in the days ahead of the hearings with apparently damaging excerpts from Toyota’s required written responses by politicians to favored Washington Post and New York Times, and other political media. Toyota’s fuller explanations will not be leaked. (more…)