Toyota’s Chief Bets on Hybrids, Squeezing Rivals

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WSJ.com – Requires Subscription:

In an article that talks about Toyota's lead (along with Honda) in hybrid vehicles, Toyota's new President references Kaizen.

“Mr. Watanabe said Toyota, through its storied manufacturing system of kaizen, or continuous improvement, can reduce by half the premium it now charges for hybrid technology. Analysts aren't so sure, noting that batteries use rare metals, and prices of these materials could rise along with demand for hybrids. Moreover, any success in lowering prices will either take years or what Mr. Watanabe concedes would be a technological breakthrough. ‘But it can be done,' Mr. Watanabe said.”

I wonder how this will be a continuous improvement approach (I'm sure he doesn't mean kaizen in the typical American perspective of “kaizen event”).

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