• Jan 12, 2006
Further to our earlier post, Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation and President of the Japan Business Federation, has stated in a press conference that he believes that General Motors is in serious trouble.
"I don't know its real internal situation, but I think General Motors is in quite a serious financial crisis,” said Okuda. "As far as I look at the situation as an outsider, its market share has declined and it has failed to produce quality cars. It attempted to sell its financial subsidiary, but the affiliate ended up unsold.” He did reiterate his previous statement that he thought it unlikely that GM would collapse.

This isn't the first time that Toyota's chairman has offered his opinions on the state of the U.S. auto industry. Readers will recall last year's PR fiasco centered around the possibility that the world's number two automaker would raise U.S. prices to "help" its U.S. competitors.

Okuda's sounding tougher this time around...


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  • 92 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is a ridiculous discussion. Okuda's just saying what many informed people from all over the world have said, that GM is in a morass. I suspect that the response here is overblown because a) he's the CEO of Toyota and b) he's Japanese. If Wolfgang Bernhard said GM was up a creek, would people be so upset? However, as the head of Toyota, I'd say that from a purely business oriented perspective his opinion has some value, certainly more than any of us posting here today.

      People are just freaking out because of who the message is coming from, but I don't think it's all that significant. Moreover, GM needs to hear this kind of talk if only to light a fire under their management and workforce to actually take the steps they need to take. It's pretty darn embarrassing to hear this stuff from Toyota and American companies don't like to be embarrassed...

      For those of you who say that the Japanese learned everything they did from us, you're right. But this is because Ford and GM management wouldn't listen to the ideas of the guys on the plant floor who had identified all these inefficiencies. The only guys who would listen were the guys from Honda and Toyota... and so was born the Toyota Production System, the standard for industrial lean manufacturing today.
      • 9 Years Ago

      You're right. The Germans did come up with many things first. Funded by everything from gold teeth of dead people to general pillaging of all of Europe. When you have unlimited cash you can do some stuff.
      You brought up your heritage the second you attached a link to your username on your first post which basically oosed your heritage. I was then just wondering how anything I have stated matches the racism found historically in Japanese heritage. But you are right, I should not judge you by that. Sorry.
      Again, though, I am not really about who did what first either, an occassional thought back to history for precedence, sometimes, but I am talking about now and all the myths and exaggerations and then this Toyota exec trying to make Americans run from American car companies because he is getting ansy. Can't wait long enough for the enevitable. He knows the American consumer is weak and so throws some fuel on the fire.
      There just are many people out there that have no idea what America has accomplished and so when I see things that are trying to make it like American manufacturing has been inept since day one I can't believe it. Just reminding people of contributions that all. It is probably important to me because I had an IT guy tell me once, he isn't a dumb guy (usually) either, "America has never been known for it's manufacturing". At one point 80% of the world's products came from the U.S. It is just absurd. That is why I am so defensive. People have no clue.
      Atleast I will give you some credit. You have the capacity to realize and state that GM isn't totally inept and makes at least some quality cars. I respect that. I am used to people on this site that would til their dying day never admit it (and could think though it is not true from facts from JD Powers and opinions of many).


      • 9 Years Ago
      Toyota, go back to Japan.

      Oh, I thought it was the 1980s again. GM is toast, everyone knows this. Yet, some think there's going to be some grand turn-around. Unlikely. Wait until they cut the dividend. Watch the Wall Street exodus.
      Joe Gorski
      • 9 Years Ago
      If Toyota's quality is so good, why did their best NA plant place 15th when GM had 8 in the top 10 and had the top three plants. Perception, and the press has made them their darling. Why does the American Press love to beat America down? Toyota's perception of quality is far above their actual quality and the big three's quality perception is lower than their actual quality. Wake up America, and think for yourself.
      • 9 Years Ago
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      • 9 Years Ago
      Only I would be so narrow minded as to take a statement and process (i.e. think) it instead of blindly storing it like most import fanboys do?
      Then, take out this and take out that before running the numbers. WTF? That is smart. Does Apple get to do that, tell the analyst, take out MicroSuck's sales to all companies starting with 'R' before you report the numbers because we looked in our records and we don't sell to any 'R' companies? Do you have Cerebral Paralysis?
      I don't get it, is there a law against Toyota making vehicles in any of those segments? Didn't they try to get in the large truck segment with T-100 and fail, so don't count those vehicles then? And don't they have the Land Cruiser?
      MY POINT WITH THE 2 TO 1 IS THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING BRAINWASHED that mechanics will tell them, "I see more GM's than Toyotas in our shop", well, duh, they f'ing make more. Does anybody understand there are so many more GM's in America in the first place. So if the same PERCENTAGE of GM's broke down as Toyotas here in America then the NUMBER of break downs would be twice as many. I have 20 GM's break down and only 10 Toyotas. That is in line with the sales numbers. Because GM sells double.
      This kinda information that doesn't get into consumers brains so they assume same amount of vehicles made by both and GMs are in the shope more, that means Toyota is better. It isn't the total fact to make an educated guess.
      I've said that before, that sales statistics mean nothing with my Mariah example. For those that do live by them, this is a fact, the 2 to 1. BUT SALES STATISTICS MEAN NOTHING IN HOW GOOD A CAR IS BUT IT DOES MATTER FOR 2 THINGS: 1.WHAT IS MORE POPULAR (GM ISN'T OUT OF TOUCH, POPULARITY IS THERE) AND 2. THE CONSUMER TO UNDERSTAND WHY GMs APPEAR TO BREAK DOWN MORE. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE. If Mariah sells more albums it doesn't mean she is the best mucisian out there technically but it does say she is the most popular. But you should understand that Mr. DJ.
      Sorry, I need to repeat things because people like you don't get it the first or second or thousandth time. Because you have the import fanboy force field on to block it out.

      BTW, when I meantioned how I feel about the political partys I mean the actual power players of the parties are the ones mostly like I described except the one example of how many dems are about minorities.

      Anyway, djSuck, I'm sure out of 2 dozen posts 3 or 4 hard repeat info, because people like you don't get it and it is important stuff.
      • 9 Years Ago
      so gm makes terrible cars??? hmmmmmmm.. u coulda fooled me... my 1990 Buick century has well over 200,000 miles and the only thing ive ever replaced is the tires and the motor oil... wonder how that h appened???
      • 9 Years Ago
      #13: "The sub compact market is about to explode in this country but the big 3 are nowhere to be see."
      ---

      Cobalt SS?
      • 9 Years Ago
      I can't believe some of the comments i'm reading.

      The Chairman was out of line saying those comments, it just comes off as gloating.

      The fact of the matter is GM isn't producing cars people want. When was the last time you saw a GM FWD sedan win a comparison in C/D or Motortrend, not in the last 10 years. Don't try to blame it on import bias either, the 300C is selling like hotcakes and got good reviews.

      It's not that GM produces a bad car (atleast not any more). The malibu for example is an alright car, it's reliable, it has 4 wheels and it will get you places. However it has nothing to make me as a consumer want to buy it over the competition. That's the problem, GM needs their "300C". A mass market car that impresses people in design and functionality. They should also get it through their head that the Z06, camaro and other sports cars don't rake in the cash. They should be focusing on the high volume cars like the G6, malibu, cobalt etc.

      I also find it appauling that some of you buy GM just because they're american. Why someone would buy an inferior product and have such brand loyalty is beyond me. I've owned a car from just about every manufactuer including GM. I buy cars based on features, not the badge on the front of the car.
      • 9 Years Ago
      When i think of GM, i just think horrible, poor in quality, frequent visits to mechanics and not a car i can be proud to be in. They have ruined their reputation with quality problems and lack of innovention and on top of it worst, they haven't made any progress to change that thought.

      Gm also has way too many divisions its ridiculous. I would keep a few like Saab, but what they need to do is stick with like three divisions maximum, which decreases production, and dealer related costs etc. My personal opinion is keep saab, chevy(trucks, camaro, corvette), AXE oldsmobile, buick, saturn, pontiac and for heavens sake bring on OPEL.

      I would definitely buy an OPEL made car, its like the only brand under GM that seems to be seriously made to be a good car.

      GM would make some cash then. I mean this is not rocket science.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is hilarious. The nationalism exhibited on here is why people go to war and kill each other. The Japanese are no different. But, thank God, the majority of the world understands we are all of the same making and try to find a way to get along as brothers.

      Toyota is more of an American company than Japanese company. A majority of cars are or soon will be built here and American management runs Toyota here in the states. There are over 100,000 Americans directly working for Toyota and another 50-200,000 working in support organizations, logistics, suppliers, etc.

      The reality is GM is a mess. And they are closer to bankruptcy than most realize. That was his point. The Japanese aren't known for their social grace and here is an example of a misquote or something likely taken out of context.

      The best thing, BEST THING, that could happen to GM and Ford is crisis. They are legacy companies with insular management. The only way to affect organizational transformation in situations like this is via crisis. It is painful and many will get the shaft, but in the end, GM and Ford will both re-emerge as significantly more innovative, customer oriented companies. So, even with bankruptcy.....good will eventually come.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I have to say that it has been an interesting read to look at the many comments here. Lots of dust, flame throwing and rock tossing.

      #56 Jeff Gilleran pretty well summed it all up best, though. Kudos.

      I own a Toyota and a Hyundai. I'd alternately bought GM, Ford, Chrysler and even AMC products for almost 30 years, new, used. Whatever. Generally speaking, to some extent, every one of them was junk - some way worse than others. Some might say that I'm not too bright in that it took 30 years to figure out that Toyota and Hyundai were better cars than "US brands" (and exactly what is that when many "US brands" are selling cars made in foreign countries and exporting jobs or just laying off, while "Asian brands" are bringing jobs into this country?) Here's my defense, however. Asian cars were better in many ways but until about 15 years ago, they were often rustbuckets and I live in the north so didn't like to see my car rot in front of my eyes. So I'll only admit to being stupid for 15 years, and avoiding the better quality of Toyota. I was foolishly being mindful of past offenses by a people and nation that I have never visited and really know little about.

      Example: my youngest son had a GM product as his first car at age 16 1/2 and put twice as much money into repairs as the car cost over the first 8 months of ownership. We finally sold it and found him a Toyota, and the only thing it has needed was a battery and tires and oil changes.

      In the meanwhile, I'll have my cell phone on me so when I happen across you folks who still insist on buying "American" vehicles are broken down (i.e. being as narrow minded as I used to be), I'll stop and let you borrow my (Korean made) cell phone.
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