Stick with what you know. That seems to be Toyota's new mantra going forward, as the Japanese automaker has reportedly diverted its attention away from large trucks like the largely unsuccessful and slow-selling Tundra pickup and back on hybrid vehicles – possibly all wearing the Prius badge, including a minivan and something smaller than the current Prius – and returning to its previous levels of unquestionable quality.
Atsushi Niimi, executive vice president for North America and global manufacturing, tells Automotive News that Toyota will try to build more longevity into its current lineup, addressing issues such as excessive rust and corrosion and introducing new "fail-safe functions" designed to minimize the possibility of "tragic accidents." We suspect that means push-button ignitions that can more easily shut down the car and floor mats that can't bunch up under the accelerator pedal.
In addition, Toyota will focus on the North American market, giving U.S. engineers a larger say when it comes to new vehicle design and the choices of which models make the overseas trek. To speed up the new model renaissance, Toyota will hold back on mid-cycle refreshes, instead working to get more substantial updates ready in less time.
On the manufacturing side, Toyota believes that it expanded too rapidly over the last decade and will attempt to slow down and restore the trust that customers had in the brand. Apparently, that slowdown will indeed affect the recently-built and still-idle plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
[Source: Automotive News (products, manufacturing) (quality) - sub. req'd]