How Toyota can get its groove back

Alisa Roth Aug 5, 2009
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How Toyota can get its groove back

Alisa Roth Aug 5, 2009
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Toyota’s new president, Akio Toyoda,
is in Michigan today talking to industry leaders.
It’s been a tough ride lately for the Japanese auto company. Earlier this week, it reported losses of more than $ 800 million. Alisa Roth takes a look at what Toyota needs to do to get its groove back.


Alisa Roth: Sure, Toyota’s losing money. And it’s put the brakes on its expansion plans. But don’t expect it to ask for a bailout. Or file for Chapter 11. James Womack has studied Toyota’s management extensively. He says it’s important to realize the company’s not in any mortal danger.

JAMES WOMACK: This is a very brilliant company that has had a big pothole they’ve hit. But the wheels didn’t come off the car and they’re going on down the road.

Womack says Toyota started riding too high on its success, back in the ’90s. When it decided that it needed to be the biggest carmaker in the world. And started expanding like mad.

He says it’ll have a little more competition. Now that the Detroit Three are figuring out how to cut their costs. He says what it needs to do is go back to its beginnings.

WOMACK: They need to go back to being the underdog, and to do the blocking and tackling and the problem-solving every day so that they move steadily ahead, but slowly.

The new president may be a sign of that return to the company’s roots: his grandfather founded the firm.

I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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