Watanabe Orders Toyota's Developers Back to Drawing Board
Washington DC September 17, 2007; The AIADA reported that Toyota Motor President Katsuaki Watanabe is not completely satisfied with the automaker's low-cost car. "When I drove the first prototype in late March, I found the level of the new car not bad," Watanabe told Automotive News Europe at the IAA in Frankfurt. "But I asked for more in terms of cost reduction." Toyota plans to launch its low-cost car in emerging markets such as India, China, Russia and Brazil. But bringing costs down for the car while maintaining the brand's signature reliability and high quality is proving difficult. Watanabe said that he felt "there was still room for quality improvement." He declined to provide more details on the low-cost car, which supplier sources say is code-named EFC (Entry Family Cars). Developing new low-cost technologies and systems was a top priority for Watanabe when he took over at Toyota two-and-a-half years ago. Click here for more on his plans.