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Inside Toyota's Epic Breakdown


Robert Hall

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Good summary article. Though a couple caveats:

But this was Toyota. This was the auto company that revolutionized factory production in the 1960s, launched a luxury brand in the Lexus against the odds in the late 1980s

Honda had already launched Acura 3 years earlier with huge success. Toyota wasn't going against any odds, they were simply following the lucrative market Honda opened up in 1986. FYI, Honda sold 53k Acuras its first year, 109k its second year, and 128k its third year (all Integras and Legends). For Toyota not to jump in would have been dumb.

and then confounded skeptics again in the 1990s by delivering the Prius and turning itself into a byword for environmental stewardship.

Toyota's Prius didn't become even remotely popular, nor did it turn Toyota into a synonym for green until the 2nd gen Prius in 2004. And aside from that, Honda beat Toyota to the US market with a hybrid, though neither the 1st gen Insight nor 1st gen Prius went anywhere. Toyota did bring the first hybrid out in Japan.

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