When seasoned executive Jim Press surprisingly jumped ship at Toyota to work at Cerberus-controlled Chrysler, we were half expecting the 36 year veteran of the Japanese automaker to dish some dirt on his ex-employer. After all, Press was the highest-ranking U.S.-born executive Toyota ever had, and if anyone had the scoop on the company he would. In the end, other than a couple of jabs at the Prius, Press took the high road, leaving his post at Toyota with his dignity intact.
But after watching Toyota knee-deep in recalls and with the government breathing down the company's collective neck, Press appears to have had enough. The Detroit Free Press reports the typically positive-tongued Press released a statement saying that "the root cause of their problems is that the company was hijacked, some years ago, by anti-family, financially oriented pirates." Shiver our timbers, that doesn't sound good. Press adds that the negative forces that led Toyota astray didn't "have the character necessary to maintain a customer first focus."

But while Press is very much down on some of the plank walkers that helped lead Toyota into its current morass, he has a decidedly rosier take on the new top boss. Press reportedly said in his press release that Akio Toyoda is the only person who has what it takes to save the Japanese automaker from its current predicament, adding "he is very capable, and he embodies the virtues and character that built this great company."

Is Press finally speaking out against the forces who pushed Toyota to become too big, too soon, or is he angling to get his old job back? We're guessing the former is likely the case, as Press already has 40 years of automotive experience under his belt and the next couple years at Toyota are likely to be challenging ones. Top tip, Keerthi!

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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