Here is a piece from a Japanese newspaper that gives a pretty good short historical overview of Toyota’s entry into the auto business. Toyota only started making cars in 1937 and will most likely be #1 in the world (in production volume) by their 70th anniversary.
Many people don’t know that it wasn’t always rosy for the Toyota auto business:
In December 1949, the automaker faced possible bankruptcy because it was unable to cover a debt of 200 million yen. It was Takeo Takanashi, a Bank of Japan branch manager, who saved the company from embarrassment. … extended a cooperative loan to save the company from going broke. In 1950, Toyota implemented restructuring measures, including the axing of 1,600 employees and the splitting of sales and manufacturing divisions into separate entities.
Labor unions staged a strike for two months in opposition to dismissals. To settle the dispute, Kiichiro Toyoda stepped down and was replaced by Taizo Ishida, who headed the loom works, which was the most profitable of the group companies at the time.
Toyota had its crisis. Chrysler, Ford, and GM have all had a major crisis in the past 25 years…. but how did they and how will they respond?
The article says: “GM is advancing corporate restructuring to tide over financial difficulties, and its production is declining.”
Waste reduction or corporate restructuring? Blaming workers or taking responsibility for management failures? Which path should they go down? Is that what they’ll really do?
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