Hans Greimel of Automotive News recently interviewed Toyota president Akio Toyoda on his new role as the head of Lexus:
In March, Toyoda reorganized the company by splitting it into four parts.
The other business units have an executive vice president who reports to Toyoda. But for Lexus, the president cut out the middleman.
“What other brands have, but Lexus lacks, is a story, its own story, narrative or history,” Toyoda said before the April 19 launch party for a global marketing campaign for Lexus. “I think the contents I can bring, as the head of a global company, also as a racing driver and as part of the founding family, could be conducive to story-making for Lexus.”
The entire article is worth reading, but Toyoda’s plans for the future of Lexus should be highlighted:
His own opinions about what the cars should be often butt heads with those of the Toyota bureaucracy. But Toyoda said that the jousting of opinions, a rarity in the past, is needed to churn out better cars.
“By having competition and conflict between the ideas that the bureaucracy has and my own personal concept of what the Lexus brand should be, that will bring us closer to what Lexus should be and the polished gem I want it to be,” Toyoda said.
“Before, we’d begin by talking about how many units we can sell, how much money we can make. Now, before even doing that, we’re starting with, ‘Wow, I want to build that car,’” Toyoda said. “We are now moving in the direction of a new Lexus.”
Since taking over as Toyota president in 2009, Toyoda’s imprint on the Lexus brand is undeniable. The LFA may be the most dramatic proof of his impact, but the real changes began with the 2013 GS — the new fourth-generation sports sedan not only debuted the spindle grille, but also introduced Toyoda’s hyper-focus on performance to the core Lexus models.
In less than two years, nearly every model in the lineup has been updated, and the entire character of the brand has been changed to reflect the man in charge — Akio Toyoda is molding Lexus into something very different, and this is only the beginning.
[Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)]