Toyota under Toyoda: the future is regional, not global
Toyota City/Nagoya, Japan: An e-mail from Japan landed in my in-box today. The big news in the land of the rising sun is a sweeping new strategy being formulated by Toyota's soon to be new boss, Akio Toyoda.
His plan is to switch the focus at Toyota from that of global to regional operations. In other words, we're going to be seeing more models being developed for specific regions of the world rather than single models being developed for the whole world. The phrase Toyota insiders are already using to describe the new plan is "Multi-Continental".
Toyoda, who has made his name in streamlining production process at many of Toyota's most important manufacutring plans, is taking over the running of the world's No.1 car maker from Katsuaki Watanabe, who originally got the job on the strength of his purchasing skills.
Before Toyoda begins remodelling Toyota's worldwide operations he plans to have a crack at this year's Nurburgring 24 hour race at the wheel of the company's yet to be launched Lexus LSF.