This morning Toyota President Akio Toyoda apologized profusely to the Japanese people for making vehicles that have not excited domestic buyers. He was also contrite over the company's projected loss of $5 billion for the year, and for a recent floor-mat recall prompted by the deaths of four people in San Diego. But Toyota, which overtook GM as the world's largest automaker last year, is still much better off than any American car company. Can our auto execs learn from Mr. Toyoda's regrets? (Below, the popular Toyota Prius.)
California-based Tesla Motors opened its third retail store today in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, kicking off a rapid retail expansion plan that should land stores in eight major U.S. cities before the end of 2009.
As crocodile tears are shed for GM and its now penny shares of stock, commentators are also mourning the demise of the American auto industry. While I also regret the loss of jobs at the former "Big Three", the truth is that the American auto industry is alive and well - - we’ve just been looking in the wrong place.
With so many jobs in the balance and their fingers in so many pies I don't want any of the top three automakers, Chrysler, GM, or Ford, to fold up their tents. One way or another I want them get their acts together and turn themselves into viable businesses, contributing to America's economic engine.
The 2010 Toyota Prius is set to achieve a combined city/highway EPA estimated fuel efficiency rating of 50 miles-per-gallon, the highest ever for a consumer retail vehicle. The original Prius came in at 41 MPG, and the current model gets 46 MPG.
As Detroit feels the noose around its neck, everyone says it's getting what it deserves for years of crappy cars. And it is. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the new Dodge Ram, which is replete with more tech toys than most luxury sedans. The crowning feature: the truck can serve as a mobile WiFi hotspot and link multiple computers or phones to the Internet.