Yes, you read that correctly - Toyota is trying to play the humble role, or at least its North American president is trying to spin things in that direction. Jim Press stated "We have no interest in GM declining, or in becoming number one." And to that I say, "bullshit."
I'm not trying to single out Toyota in any way, or begrudge it the success it's found in the past three decades. The company has built a reputation among car buyers for the quality and refinement of its vehicles, and industry geeks proclaim the company's manufacturing excellence; indeed, Toyota's production systems have, if not revolutionized manufacturing, then at least yielded efficiency improvements that were probably once thought to be impossible. But one doesn't refine automotive design and mass production to such a high level without having some serious ambition. To think that a company will come to rule an industry by accident is, frankly, simply not a plausible concept.

Do I want to see Toyota rub its success in the collective face of the American car industry? Certainly not. But I think it's just as insulting for the company to take on an "aw, shucks" attitude and insinuate that it's reached its current position by accident, because that doesn't give fair credit to anyone who'd been involved in this game.

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