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Changing The Rules Of The Game

2832 words - 11 pages



Successful latecomers: Toyota in Europe

By Professor Kazuo Ichijo and George Rädler, Research Associate (November, 2006)


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CHANGING THE RULES OF THE GAME | Successful latecomers: Toyota in Europe

"It is not the strongest of species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Charles Darwin

Does your company operate in a mature market? Are you a latecomer in certain parts of the globe? Is your business model requiring adjustments? Let's look at how Toyota dealt with these issues in Europe.

The possibility of profitable growth

− Don't be afraid of change

− Don't be satisfied with status quo

Between 2001 and 2005, Toyota's global sales increased from 5.5 million units to 8 million units. Within the industry, Toyota had an excellent balance of cost-effectiveness and quality. Although recent recalls may have effected their reputation, they did not impact financial results. In 2005, Toyota was one of only two manufacturing companies being a member of the "$10 billion club" - reporting a net income in excess of $10 billion. With this performance, Toyota is widely seen as the most successful automobile company and has become the benchmark for the global automotive industry. But, in the view of Katsuaki Watanabe, President of Toyota, there was no reason to relax:

"Everyone should be dissatisfied with the present situation and constantly try to improve or change things. It's important to realize that there is always something more we need to aim at. That's what needs to be recognized by every individual. When you are growing you are satisfied with the status quo, and that's no good."


CHANGING THE RULES OF THE GAME | Successful latecomers: Toyota in Europe

It's about ambition

− Set your goals

− Keep your company focused

"Our goals are not directly positioned against competitors. Our goals are around customers." Toyota initiated a goal of 15% global market share by 2010 (up from 11% in

2005). In order to reach 15%, international growth was of utmost importance, particularly in Europe. Although Toyota recorded its ninth consecutive sales records in Europe in 2005 - and outsold its Japanese and Korean competitors by far - much more was expected from the company. It held a European market share of only 5.1% in 2005, compared to...

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