REPORT: Toyoda wonders aloud if Toyota has faltered by following GM's lead

During the reign of company President Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota became the number one automaker in the world, along with amassing $52 billion in cash and marketable securities. That sounds like one of the most amazing runs in the history of the automotive industry, but it's more than a little disappointing to company scion Shoichiro Toyoda.
The 84 year-old Toyoda is apparently the mild-mannered type, but Bloomberg is reporting that he read the riot act to Watanabe and his fellow execs. The news agency's sources say that Toyoda railed Watanabe for being "so anxious to boost sales and profits that he'd let Toyota emulate bankrupt General Motors." Toyoda also reportedly chastised execs for becoming too dependent on large and expensive cars, trucks and SUVs, saying, "customers need to save money."

Toyota may have made $17.7 billion in 2007, but the $4.5 billion it lost in 2008 and the $5.7 billion it expects to shed in 2009 shows that Toyoda may be on to something. If the company is to turn around in the next few years, though, it'll have to come at the hand of another Toyoda. Shoichiro's son Akio takes over as president on Tuesday.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image Source: AFP/Getty]

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