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Toyota has a long-standing tradition of not laying off permanent full-time workers. So if you've got a job at Toyota, you've got a job for life. But something's got to give in today's economy. Unfortunately, current market conditions aren't getting along well with the Japense automaker's policy, and Toyota -- now officially the world's largest automaker -- may be finding that it's more difficult to follow through on the promise while shedding thousands of sales per month in the global downturn.

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Toyota is struggling to sell trucks and SUVs like everyone else, but unlike the competition, no full-time workers from stalled factories are getting laid off. The 4,500 workers at idled plants are instead bettering themselves through eduction by taking classes on safety, diversity, and Toyota history. They're also doing community service while on the clock and even some gardening. The workers will be learning how to work faster and smarter during the down time, and are even being shifted to busi

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With Toyota reporting its daily average sales rate fell 6.6 percent last month, it might be easy to think the retirement of nine U.S. executives is a sign that the company is getting ready for a new start. But at least one analyst thinks something else might be happening. Head hunting.

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