Toyota's founder, Sakichi Toyoda, was determined to create the world's finest weaving looms. He did so by checking out other company's looms around the world and using their advancements to improve his owncompany's products. And in the 1920s, a visit to a GM factory intrigued him, and the rest is history. Magee says in his book, "How Toyota Became No. 1", that Toyoda's philosophy of seeking out new ideas was fostered in his employees and remains one of the company's greatest attributes.
Keith McFarland talks about the book in his "BusinessWeek" column, suggesting that while other automakers focused solely on retaining their market share and satisfying stockholders, Toyota has for decades been straying from worn paths to find new ideas. So as GM and Ford fought over which company has the best truck for decades, Toyota's been developing hybrid technologies and perfecting the world's best-selling passenger cars. As for what's happening to the Tundra, well, there are risks when straying from the worn paths you know.