Toyota Quickens Quest to Unseat GM


Toyota Quickens Quest to Unseat GM

As a friend in Detroit pointed out, it's interesting that Toyota is allowing Fuji/Subaru to build Toyota vehicles in Indiana, might be the first time Toyota is allowing others to build their cars. I'm sure it's faster to use that existing capacity than it is to build yet another plant (although two plants are already in the works, San Antonio and Ontario).

Am I right to assume that Toyota will manage this plant along the lines of NUMMI, where they do their best to use the full TPS approaches? Even if it's not 100% Toyota employees, can we assume that they will run it as if it's a Toyota plant and make sure people have learned and use TPS principles?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Mark,

    I live just 8 miles from the Subaru plant here in Lafayette, Indiana. Belive me, this was headline news locally!!

    My prediction, knowing Toyota and having been through the Subaru plant here several times (our local Lean Manufacturing group actually uses their meeting rooms once a month, as well) is that the senior Toyota folks will take 6-12 months to set this up. Then, they will move some of their experienced people from their Princeton Indiana, Columbus Indiana and Georgetown Kentucky plants here.

    And, guess what? Do kaizen. Over and over.

    And in 2 years from that (3-4 from now) will have a plant with double the productivity of the current Subaru operations (which are hardly lean).

    Just a prediction from an interested observer!


  2. Well according to the announcement, it would not be run like NUMMI. NUMMI is completely run by Toyota with the only exception of some “visiting” managers and engineers from GM. Toyota has total autonomy on the “how” of running the plant. And NUMMI is very competitive both from a quality and productivity standpoint. I think at one point NUMMI was the #2 plant in the world on quality or something like that.


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