By February 24, 2010 10 Comments Read More →


Random thought related to those from the Big 3 Detroit 3  who are happy to see Toyota suffer, I think I’m coining a term (I can’t find it, or this spelling, via google anywhere):

I think I’m  coining a phrase: “detroidenfreude” = the pleasure Detroiters derive in the misfortunates of Toyota.

I say I’m coining it, because nobody has really used the term “detroitenfreude” either, ala the German word  Shadenfreude. The only reference on Google right now is my original tweet.

If this term already exists out there, let me know. It just occurred to me thinking about the glee expressed, the desire of some to kick  Toyota while they’re down after decades of being kicked around my home town area – Detroit.

What are your examples of detroidenfreude? You can often find them in the local papers the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Post links in the comments.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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10 Comments on "Detroidenfreude"

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  1. Very clever phrase! By the way, I see a possible example of detroidenfreude in this blog post–referring to the Big 3 instead of the Detroit 3. Or has Toyota’s fall from grace and sales made the Detroit 3 legitimately the Big 3 again?

  2. Mark Graban

    Ha, good point, Liz!!

  3. Jefferson Martin/synfluent

    I second the ‘Clever’ nomination.

    Seems that we are seeing an overall felling of the totems from our golden age of automobile manufacturing.

    The assault is being lead by the mainstream press- whatever that really means, I no longer know- and gladly followed by a general public which is happy to see it’s news outlets devolve into just another episode of a cheap reality show.

    Problem is: this is reality.
    .-= Jefferson Martin/synfluent ´s last blog ..Watchdogs, Heartbeats and Accelerator Pedals =-.

  4. Well done Mark. Born in Warren, graduated from West Bloomfield High School, it breaks my heart to go back to Detroit these days. My dad owned his first Toyota in the early 70’s, and I caught significant grief from my friends because we drove that “cheap” car. The simple fact was that we did our own maintenance on our cars, and owning a Toyota gave us more time on the golf course. I’m hopeful that there are some astute leaders in Detroit who are watching and learning, and not joining in on the witch hunt.

  5. Mark Welch says:

    I love the term, Mark. Harkens me back to my undergraduate days and the old sociology theorists – gemeinschaft, gesellchaft, etc. But actually, Detroitenfreude kind of sounds like a full-bodied beer made in Detroit… Also something I would have enjoyed in college…

    Anyway, it seems the trashing of Toyota in the social media is vogue for now, but I’ll offer you another term, in English… “Reverse Pearl Harbor.” Only in this case, Toyota bombed themselves. But I think anyone who is gleeful of their current stumbling (Detroitenfreude) had better enjoy it while they can because if I were a gambler (which I’m not) I’d put a lot of money on it that Toyota will come roaring back from this like the U.S. did from Pearl Harbor in WWII. Listening to Akio Toyoda’s testimony only affirms John Shook’s thinking that they put growth over people development/culture. They’ve reflected and continue to reflect, and learn, and I have little doubt they will recover fully.

  6. Always fun to stir the Romance language pot. Here’s another: “Detroivergnügen!” Detroit + enjoyment

    When the “mass generalization media” moves on to the next hot issue–whatever happened to Haiti?–it’ll be interesting to learn exactly what changes within Toyota in response to both real and perceived issues. Striking new vehicles would quiet some critics.

  7. Simon Ellberger says:

    Love the neologism! Hope it doesn’t get replaced by Toyotaistcarput. They are getting some bad brakes in the media, after being called on the carpet… :)

  8. Martin says:

    I think you could apply your newly-invented term not only to the Detroit-3, but also to media.
    I got one article here, which is quite biased: “Independent auto safety experts have been skeptical …”
    Taken from:,0,4401302.story?page=1

  9. I will agree it is a clever term but it’s being applied incorrectly. To follow the context of what schadenfreude means, Detroidenfreude would describe those who take pleasure in the fall of the big 3… now known as the Detroit 3.
    .-= George Rathbun ´s last blog ..Making Senators "Stand in the circle" =-.

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