Running to Government for Help?


Journal Gazette | 11/15/2006 | Big Three get little from Bush session

Has anyone heard the “weak yen” excuse from the Big 3 lately? GM's Rick Wagoner claims Toyota gets a “$3,000 to $9,000” subsidy per vehicle for exports to the U.S. Are they blowing smoke or is there something to that? What about the money that Toyota, Honda and the others are making on cars built here in the U.S.?

I'm sure a lot of excuses were offered yesterday, all around, with the President. Was lean or waste even part of the conversation??

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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. I guess it’s easier for the Sloan/Brown companies to whine and throw up the NAM arguments (currency, outsourcing, raw material costs) than than deal with the waste-filled holes that they run and get competitive. Bill Waddell talks about this a lot over at the evolving excellence blog.

    I wonder if Mulally was on-board with those comments? Just the other day he more or less acknowledged Toyota for what they are – the greatest manufacturing company on earth.

    And it makes my blood boil every time I hear someone say that producing more ethanol will reduce our “dependence” on foreign oil.


  2. Is it not possible for 2 issues to co-exist?

    While I agree that failing to focus on the customer to improve processes and products is a huge part of US Automakers’ problems these other factors cannot be ignored or dismissed as excuses.

    I would expect nothing less than for these CEOs to go after everything they can get. When you really think about it, how else do CEOs directly add value?

  3. I guess the two points can co-exist, but the main thing that gets media attention are the Big 3’s excuses and finger pointing. When you point at someone else, 4 fingers point back.

  4. While these executives work to tackle the issues they own in their own companies, should they not explore and promote their needs to the President? Is raising those issues the wrong thing to do? If you are asking people in your company to do everything they can, what’s wrong with also asking the government to be supportive as well? It’s not just black and white, right and wrong.


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