Toyota Drives Into NASCAR


    Japanese Automaker Drives Into NASCAR – Yahoo! News

    Will they apply kaizen to NASCAR? :-)

    It was announced earlier this week that a NASCAR edition of the Camry, the best-selling car in the U.S. in seven of the last eight years, will begin racing in 2007 in both of NASCAR's top stock car series — Cup and Busch.

    “Like it or not, Toyota is a very important part of our economy today,” said team owner Jack Roush, who fields five Fords in the Nextel Cup series and has won two of the last three championships. “We've got a lot of dealer investment dollars out there and we've got a lot of our population that works in Toyota plants around the country. So they have every right to be here.

    I'm sure there is no coincidence that 2007 will also mark 50 years of Toyota selling cars in the U.S. It makes you wonder if Toyota is still a “Japanese” company, or a global one, with a strong American presence?

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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, it strikes me that this is a very crucial, symbolic step for Toyota. Same for NASCAR.

      Toyota really gets into the heart of the broad American psyche. Particularly the blue-collar male, which makes up the bulk of NASCAR.

      NASCAR expands their appeal slightly beyond their classic “Bubba” demographic of the southern white male.

      Just think of how the Toyota folks can describe a pit stop in terms of SMED!!! And 5S in the pit area and the garage! And kaizen the entire thing! Whether team owners and drivers will embrace it or not will also be a public space in which to describe change management.

      And I may have to switch my favorite team away from my fellow Purdue engineering grad Ryan Newman!!

    2. The best driver Toyota has lined up is Michael Waltrip. He can be good with good equipment, but lately he hasn’t been very competitivie.

      It’ll probably take Toyota a season or 2 before they get their cars up to speed.

    3. Formula 1 fans will note that Toyota has competed with a factory team for 3 or 4 years now, and has yet to win a race.


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