The executive who wrote Toyota Motor Corp.’s “global vision” announced by the president said Thursday that the changes at the automaker can’t fix all crises but will speed up response to recalls.
Real Tanguay, 61, a Canadian, who oversees Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American manufacturing, is emerging as the main risk-management expert — a stark and rare sign of openness to a non-Japanese at a conservative firm that has no foreigners on its board.
Tanguay, a 20-year veteran at Toyota, was the one President Akio Toyoda turned to in drafting Toyota’s long-term goals, released Wednesday, to set the tone for where it was headed not only for employees and business partners but also to the outside world.
The sweeping strategy statement was the first since the massive global recalls hit in late 2009, hammering the once sterling image of the world’s biggest automaker.
Toyota gave a “bottom line” goal of an annual operating profit of ¥1 trillion, even if the yen remains strong at about ¥85 to the dollar, and vehicle sales drop by 20 percent.
It also talked about respect for the planet and innovation as it pledged to grow toward an industry record of 10 million vehicles in annual global sales.
Tanguay said a study that began in September with Toyota’s global employees found many did not feel connected with headquarters and were confused about where Toyota was going.
After he got input from various regions, he mapped out the company’s vision, a portion of which reads: “Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people.”
Toyota established its reputation for quality cars through what is called the “Toyota way of production,” which empowers the worker to stop the assembly line if a problem arises.
But with the spate of recalls, ballooning to more than 14 million vehicles, for a range of problems, including sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats, Toyota needed to bring the ranks together as well as communicate better to consumers.
“The reason I was chosen was I made the biggest noise” about how the company was losing its direction, Tanguay said.
Tanguay said bureaucratic layers in decision-making were removed and so each region will be more nimble in responding to complaints and recalls.
“We have no excuse to say no one is listening to us because the president has an open door,” said Tanguay.
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