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Toyota Under Fire – Book Review

Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity
By Martin Swig
Toyota Under Fire Book CoverIn the last two years, Toyota has been the target of more negative publicity than any auto company in recent years. Some of the fault lies with Toyota, but most of the blame must be on an inept, maybe even deceitful Department of Transportation, a UAW anxious to bloody their longtime nemesis, and a thoroughly gullible press corps.
Author Jeffrey Liker is a professor at the University of Michigan, and a longtime observer of Toyota’s business culture, while author Timothy Ogden is a business writer. This book is a study of how Toyota responded to these troubles, in accordance with their longtime guiding principles.
Liker points out that a typical company would have responded to these pressures by firing people and announcing a newly formulated strategy for conducting its business in the future. Toyota fired no one. They looked inward to their longtime guiding principles that had made them the manufacturer of the highest quality automobiles in the world. They looked to see how they had departed from their principles, and how they could solve their problems by applying those proven principles.
The biggest problem was “unintended acceleration” — cars becoming uncontrollable by their drivers. Most “car people” knew instinctively that the problem was with the drivers who were hitting the wrong pedal. The Audi “unintended acceleration” debacle in the late ‘80s saw the same news media frenzy and reporters’ willingness to believe nonsense. In the end, it was determined that Audi drivers were stepping on the wrong pedal.
Toyota could have blamed Toyota owners but they didn’t want to do that publicly. So they endured considerable abuse and mistreatment before they were finally vindicated. Much like Audi – media frenzy, government frenzy, lost sales, damaged reputation. All based on fiction and imagination.
A good read. You’ll want to buy a Toyota.

Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity
Authors: Jeffrey K. Liker and Timothy W. Ogden
Publisher: McGraw-Hill (March 2011)
Format: Hardcover, 8.4” x 5.5, 237 pages
ISBN: 978-0071762991
Price: $20.00
[Source: Martin Swig]