• Nov 2, 2009
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]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well this isn't a shocker. By returning to its roots, Toyota will again dominate where it dominates best: quality, efficiency and technology.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can see them slowing production and maybe even killing off the Tundra since it is not selling well, but what about the Taco? Those are pretty good trucks. Not sure how they are selling though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How about they just forget the unique Tacoma for the US and give us the Hilux or give us the one the rest of the world gets but call it the Tacoma. And include the damn diesel already!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The new Taco isn't nearlly as good as the older ones, well the older ones that didn't rust out, and it is too big and expensive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Tacoma sells well. It is the most popular midsize truck on the market. They will not get rid of this truck. I don't want to see the Tundra go either, but I do think that it needs a major overhaul to be more competitive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's the reason I never get anything beside Toyota/Lexus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "It was like Chevy putting a huge plant in the heart of Japan to produce the cobalt, and crowning it the king of small cars."

      I recant my previous statement about the Chrysler analogy being the best I've ever heard. I if I could single-handedly up-vote you to 3 stars I'd do it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess the FJ Cruiser will also be axed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As someone who works for a Toyota supplier, I really hope they don't try and compress major model changes any more than they already have. I think that's a big source of where some of their issues are coming from. The more you compress timing the harder it is to fix problems the right way and the more last minute changes you force yourself into.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The Tacoma is the BEST all around truck ... for the average guy that doesn't need a full sized truck ... the Tacoma is a PERFECT alternative"

      Soooooo.... the Tacoma is the perfect truck for the guy that doesn't really need a truck so that makes it the best truck?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see Toyota's problems so much as being about quality, but rather about desirability. On the one hand, Toyotas are obviously desirable to someone, simply because they sell so many of them. But never has a manufacturer built so many different models for which I have no desire. Like so many other manufacturers, Toyota became obsessed with 4 door everything, sedans, SUVs, subcompacts. The only two door offerings were the bloated Solara and the Yaris, which has a gutless motor and cheap torsion beam suspension. How Toyota ever earned a reputation for fuel economy, I'm not sure. There 2.4 liter 4 cylinder is quite the fuel hog, and Toyota just refuses to move on from it. The Scions are particularly thirsty with disproportionately low fuel economy, given their size. The Tacoma is now the size of the original Tundra, and the RAV4 the size of the original Highlander. And a third row of seats in the RAV4??? I'm still trying to figure out why they stretched it into a station wagon. With Toyota's endless overlap in ever expanding SUVs, it now has no small SUV in it's lineup. And in spite of the outer size of the vehicles, Toyota has plumped up the interior, such as that monstrously wide center console, so there is no real net gain in usable driver/passenger space. Need I mention the obscenely high hoods that restrict frontal visibility? It's like Toyota bloated its vehicles simply for the sake of going after GM customers who seemingly like bloated vehicles, but that customer base was simultaneously eroding.

      What I want is a simple 2 door Celica or Camry coupe with a good engine, transmission, and fully independent suspension. And none of that spacey design crap like that last Celica. If the big three can bring back their iconic vehicles, then Toyota should bring back it's Celicas from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. And I don't want some jerked over teenage hot rod that rides like the suspension is welded stiff. I want a comfortable, efficient vehicle with no more than 2 adult size doors, and preferably a hatch on the back.



      • 5 Years Ago
      All I can say is duh.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All I can say is Hon-DUH.

        Seriously. They just realized they over-expanded!? Holy crap.

        Meanwhile, Honda is sticking to what it's been good at... ( but is making too many large vehicles for fat people lately).
      • 5 Years Ago
      For those of you unaware, this is what Toyota is talking about: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/
      • 5 Years Ago
      I respect Toyota's "appliance" cars (though there isn't one that I'd personally buy) and their technical know-how, and have no delusions about their popularity being undeserved. For me, though, the 2009 Corolla lent a great deal of credence to the suggestion that they'd lost focus, at least in that model's case. It felt cheaper inside than the prev-gen model, was a bit sloppier to drive, and had lots more doo-dads--in other words, it felt like the kind of redesign Chrysler might do.

      They're a long, long way off from being *that* lost, though, in that they're actually talking about it, and not waiting for a decade or two of public scorn and operating losses to do so. The current-gen Tundra, Sequoia, Corolla, Matrix, are their only real stinkers. They sound like they're just learning that they shouldn't try to be all things to all people--all juggernauts fall into that kind of hubris at some point, but not all of them get out of it.

      I still think *way* too much is being made of those floormats--it could happen in any car if some bozo at the dealership throws a thick dealer-installed pad on top of the stock ones, which is exactly what happened in this case.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "it felt like the kind of redesign Chrysler might do."

        That is probably *the* best anology I have ever heard. Up-vote for you, good sir!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is rather true. Toyota's quality the last couple of years have been going down as they extended their lineup to deal with Chevy. I remember when the best Toyota designs were in the 80s and 90s when they had the Celica/Camry All-Trac, AE86 and the Supra. I remember the Corolla having multiple body styles in those years that eventually dwindled down to the rather boring 4-door versions. As for the Tundra, that was a good idea, but I prefer the 7/10th's scale rather than the bloated current generation. It is better that this company focus on going back to basics and returning the quality control and the innovation that they used to have (just in my perspective). Hopefully the successor to the AE86 is the car Toyota needs, although I do agree a sports car or a Supra successor would be a nice competitor to the Z.
    • Load More Comments