The Secrets to Toyota's Success

Last Updated Aug 31, 2007 2:55 PM EDT

toyota-prius.jpgToyota's set an ambitious sales target (planning to trump GM's 1978 record of 9.55 million vehicles sold) but according to analysts, the goal is attainable. What's the secret to Toyota's success? Some people say long-termism. The Prius wasn't immediately profitable for Toyota, but the company saw down the road to an increased demand for fuel efficiency. One blogger at intentBlog summarized where the competition fell short:
Nobody was thinking the same thing at GM and Ford. Both companies consciously declined to trade certain short-term costs, like redesigning and retooling, for possible long-term gains. Not unusual for large, risk-averse corporations. They'd rather be safe than sorry. Let tomorrow take care of itself, is their mindset. You won't hear them talk that way in public. But despite what American automakers' TV commercials would have you believe, they got left in the dust, buried in confusion over what the public is clamoring for today. Bill Ford, Ford's CEO, seemed to want to take some risks but shareholder pressure caused him to back down rather than stick to his guns. Toyota's visioning and long-term view proved out.