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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is Detroit Three more fitting?
Toyota to displace former auto giants
January 8, 2004
BY JAMIE BUTTERS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER


What is the best term to describe General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group as a trio?

For decades, they were simply the Big Three.

But now that they no longer hold 85 percent of the market, and Chrysler is no longer an independent American company, the name just doesn't fit.

Here's an idea: the Detroit Three.

That is the term Toyota Motor Corp. executives have taken to using.

One analyst said Toyota, which became America's top-selling car brand last year, is trying to preempt any potential backlash before it tops Chrysler or Ford in total U.S. sales.

In a meeting with Wall Street analysts Wednesday morning, Jim Press, executive vice president of Toyota's U.S. sales arm, used the new term when he talked about Toyota's three brands outselling Chrysler Group's three brands last August.

"In August, we registered sales higher than one of the Detroit Three. Nothing really happened. There were no earthquakes, no locusts. There was no big disruption," he said. "It was really just a natural progression of what's been happening for some time."

(Full story here)
 

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I'd actually heard this issue framed as calling it "The Big Five" rather than "The Detroit Three".

The Big Five would be GM, Ford, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, and I think Volkswagen AG.

I think that term may have originated from Dieter Zietsche, or someone else from DC, which makes sense considering that "The Big Three" would now exclude DC.

Anyway, I'm surprised that Toyota would be so concerned about a backlash. I think very few Americans would have negative reaction against Toyota when they find out that they've outperformed Chrysler. Most people could probably figure that out on their own, and I'd say that Toyota is well liked by most Americans.
 

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Originally posted by coolcaddy@Jan 10 2004, 09:23 PM
Anyway, I'm surprised that Toyota would be so concerned about a backlash. I think very few Americans would have negative reaction against Toyota when they find out that they've outperformed Chrysler. Most people could probably figure that out on their own, and I'd say that Toyota is well liked by most Americans.
Toyota shouldn't fear a backlash for surpassing DCX. DCX is half-German and was going down the tubes for 20 years anyway.

Toyota should be more concerned about executives and such making arrogant or insulting remarks on several occasions I've noticed. One is often repeated about how they feel that states between the East and Left coast are "close minded and ignorant" - basically they go about saying that in a roundabout way - that people on the coasts are better educated and open minded because they choose Toyota product more than people in the Midwest or South. They also take jabs at GM more than I've seen the Big 3 take jabs at each other - at least when it comes to talking to the press.

I've lived in Japan and the attitudes of Mitsubishi, Honda, and Toyota people I've met are very different when it comes to customers in the US. That's also influenced my opinion - and because of it I would rather buy Mitsubishi or Honda than Toyota -- the arrogance was just astounding. "Eventually all Americans will buy Toyota first". The Mitsubishi folks were genuinely happy to see if I was interested in one of their products, whereas the Toyota guys treated it as smugly as a matter of inevitability. Sony employees are very similar in their attitudes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Originally posted by Ming@Jan 11 2004, 11:42 AM
Toyota should be more concerned about executives and such making arrogant or insulting remarks on several occasions I've noticed. One is often repeated about how they feel that states between the East and Left coast are "close minded and ignorant" - basically they go about saying that in a roundabout way - that people on the coasts are better educated and open minded because they choose Toyota product more than people in the Midwest or South.
Hey Ming- if you run across any more quote similar to this, can you send them my way? 'Tis great stuff to hand on the wall in a mid-state.
 

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Wow, so it must really piss Toyota off that I'm on the East coast and would buy a Hyundai before I'd buy a new Toyota. Toyota hasn't produced a product recently that has even remotely interested me. The last cars they had that I would really consider buying were the Celica GT-4 (awd 200hp turbo i4.. sound familiar?) and the MR2 Turbo. Since then, Toyota has not produced any vehicle that stands out in my mind as something I'd want to own (that includes the Supra). In fact, it's hard to single out any Toyota vehicle as being that much different from any other Toyota. People who have little passion about vehicles often buy Toyota, and that's fine if you just want transportation from point A to point B, but if you care about it a little more than that, Detroit has something for you.
 

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Originally posted by Mr_Pringle@Jan 11 2004, 01:33 PM

Hey Ming- if you run across any more quote similar to this, can you send them my way?  'Tis great stuff to hand on the wall in a mid-state.
OK - It's been several months, but I think it was in a similar story about Toyota's increasing market share. I remember it well because it wasn't difficult to read between the lines and it steamed me. :p (Must mean I live in the Midwest or South ;) )
 

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Really there can be no argument that Toyota doesn't build a solid (yet bland) automobile. And on a few occasions, Toyota can actually be innovative.

However, I actually welcome Toyota executives' arrogance, particularly from the American ones, who play an increasingly important role in the "global Toyota." Many late, great corporations (Westinghouse Electric, IBM, Sears Roebuck, Ford Motor Company, American Express, GM (yikes!), USX, to name a few) started from humble beginnings but grew to believe that their later dominance was a foregone conclusion, just like Toyota. History proved them wrong, as I believe it will do for Toyota - eventually. While Toyota continues to increase sales (surpassing Ford globally at the end of this past year) and GM has essentially plateaued, their next ultimate goal of 15% of global sales, and therefore taking the top of the sales chart, is not an inevitability.

I don't think I'm alone when I say that I will take a perverse delight in Toyota's eventual comeuppance!
 

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I'm not sure if this article has been referenced on GMI (couldn't find it on a search), but it seems appropriate to mention it at this point of the conversation:

Will success breed arrogance at Toyota? Only time will tell
By Daniel Howes / The Detroit News

So, I asked Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn, what do you think of all these cars coming from Detroit?

“It’s a good start,” he replied simply. Then he extolled the virtues of his full-size Titan pickup truck as the best on the market and made pretty clear that Detroit’s ballyhooed “year of the car” doesn’t look as impressive as the local automakers think.

Now, just a day before the North American International Auto Show opens to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday, you’d expect that kind of boasting from someone with Ghosn’s stripes — and the credit for engineering Nissan’s return from the automotive dead.

But it got me to thinking about what I’d heard from Toyota just a few days before. I’d chided a senior vice-president that his company too often gets an uncritical free ride from regulators, politicians and many in the news media and he said something like: Yeah, isn’t it great.

more...
 

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Originally posted by coolcaddy@Jan 10 2004, 09:23 PM
I'd actually heard this issue framed as calling it "The Big Five" rather than "The Detroit Three".

The Big Five would be GM, Ford, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, and I think Volkswagen AG.

I think that term may have originated from Dieter Zietsche, or someone else from DC, which makes sense considering that "The Big Three" would now exclude DC.
You're right... it is the "Big Five." It's generally acknowledged that the auto industry is consolidating under the 5 names -- GM, Ford, DCX, Toyota, and VW. Everything else is "small potatoes."

There was a R&T issued 2 years back that described this consolidation. I have since lost that issue (I moved and haven't seen it since.)

All that is essentially left is BMW, which has formed a litle consortium of their own (BMW, Mini, Rolls). Honda has "agreements" with GM. Mitsu is under DCX. Nissan is under Renault(?). Suzuki, Isuzu, Subaru are GM. Mazda is Ford. All the major Euro brands are either under VW or DCX. And that's pretty much it.
 

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All the major Euro brands are either under VW or DCX. And that's pretty much it.
And then there are the Asian brands, with the Koreans all consorting in ways that would have made Fleetwood Mac seem un-kinky in comparison.

Lada is still out there, though, right? Go, Lada!

Ghrankenstein
 

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Re: Toyota v. Detroit Three


I concur with the previous comments regarding the size grouping of the auto firms. Auto industry financial analysts have fairly consistently been commenting over recent years that 'economies of scale' will cause the auto industry to consolidate down into five entities during coming years. In other words, the smaller family controlled companies (BMW, Peugeot, Ferrari-Maserati), the gov't owned firms (Renault, including it's Nissan brand), and the other smaller companies (Honda) are swimming against the economic tide.

Thus, the use of the 'big five' or the 'Detroit Three' more accurately reflects current economic reality in the auto business.

With Daimler-Benz's acquisition of Chrysler a few years ago, Chrysler has become just one more company brand controlled by DaimlerChrysler: Maybach, Mercedes, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mitsibushi, Hyundai. Thus the traditional big three became the 'big two'.

I also concur with the comments by the previous poster regarding Toyota. Like that poster, I too have previously lived in Japan, and the attitudes and behaviours of the Toyota company and its founding Toyoda family are not in accordance with my understanding of ethical behavour. In Japan, company employees attend quarterly 'pep' rallies extolling company pride, company sales conquests, etc., and much of the reason for Toyota's success as trumpeted at these meetings is the refusal of the company to employ any 'mongrels' in senior management posts. For those of you who have spent time in Japan, you understand the implications of this terminology (loosely translated here into English). This racist approach by the company is supported by the Toyoda family, who in turn uses significant amounts of their dividend income to fund revisionist groups in Japan that fund the use of school text books that promote the odd concepts that Japan was a welcomed 'liberator' of Manchuria', that the invasion and ethnic repression in Korea for the first half of the 20th century was welcomed by the Koreans; and that the ethnic cleansing conducted by Japanese military forces in the philippines and other countries was welcomed by those populations.

This activity and philosophy of the Toyota company and the Toyoda family is in marked contrast to what one observes at firms such as Honda, Suburu, Suzuki, Sony, etc.

Furthermore, the Toyoda family and the Toyota company is a major supporter of multiple regional legislators in the Diet (Japan's legislative council) who support continuation of the mulitiple and effect indirect trade barriers that prevent automotive suppliers from effectively competing with Toyota in the domestic Japanese market. Several European (and a couple of US) car manufactures sell right hand drive cars in the UK that are fully compatilble with Japanese tax, safety, and emmission laws, but the restrictions on such things as development of new cars dealers and other issues are used to subtly, but effectively, provide Toyota with a strong local market base for funding that company's expanision outside of Japan.

I'm a big fan of Japan, its people, its culture, and many of its products (particularly some Acura/Honda, Suburu, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Sony products). I'm not a fan of Toyota nor its shareholding/founding family for the reasons stated above. Toyota's US sales organization has been very effective in preventing insights into the company's home country ethical issues from becoming visible in the US press.

When attempting to 'think globally and act locally', I've owned Honda cars, but never Toyota cars. Why reward the Toyota company or the Toyoda family for that sort of behaviour? Why reward proudly racist home market management and shareholders?

From the perspective of GM, Ford, DCX, Renault, and VW, their most difficult challenge in the coming years will be to survive the Toyota onslaught. I'm betting that they will survive & prosper, because in the longer run, the ethical problems that plague Toyota will eventually bite that company, and Toyota's self described orientation as a 'manufacturing company that just happens to make automotive products' provides a creative handicap that will help the self-described 'automotive companies' develop original products of greater interest to the world's consumers than derivative (but well manufactured) transportation appliances that Toyota builds and markets so well. Who wouldn't rather have a new format 'Nomad' or G6 rather than a Corolla? Or compare the edgy Cadillac XLR v. the banal SC430 roadster from Toyota.

That's more than 2 cents of comments, but perhaps they will be of interest to a few of you.
 

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Originally posted by markform@Jan 12 2004, 01:01 AM
...I've never seen a Toyota that was even remotely good looking/high performing AND not mostly copied from another manufacturer. A prime example is the Highlander....it's a ripoff from the Jeep Grand Cherokee design, except it is more bland looking. For years, several Lexus models have lifted engine, suspension, transmission, seat, dash, body style designs from BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

The lemmings who buy Toyota send the message that innovation is a waste of resources. Why should companies like BMW or Cadillac continue to invest billions and take styling risks....when good ole BORING LEXUS waits to see if the innovation is popular, and then rushes a similar version to market...which they can sell at a lower price since they don't incur all the development costs.
That is what the ***. companies do best - copy designs and release them as their own. Their masters of the reverse engineering method. :kama:
 

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Ok, seeing as nobody else wants to defend toyota, I figure I should...... .......... ..................... ....................... (snicker) .......... Well, I tried, didn't I? Seriously though, I never like Toyota, and this certainly doesn't help.
For the record, I too have noticed the tendancy to copy other companys' ideas. Granted it's nothing new, but they take it to whole new levels. Remember the early Echo comercials (before they realized no one under 60 would WANT to buy one)? Pretty blatant New Beetle ripoffs, though the car is exponentially uglier. The Land Cruiser (especially the old school one) doesn't try too hard either. It's like they want their owner to forget it's not a 'Rover. And lets not forget the classic MRnot-a-boxter. Hell, I could keep going, but I'm really tired.... It's 3am, and about every third key I've hit was backspace.

-Luke
 
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