If I was China I would be buying every Toyota in sight, this way I might have a scapegoat for the nearly 700 traffic fatalities that occur each day. This is not just a part of the old stereotype that the Chinese can’t drive, the fact is that the Chinese are just horrible drivers. Accounting for 20 percent of the worlds traffic fatalities with just over two percent of the world’s cars is hard damn work.
Following his browbeating in front of congress this week, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota, will travel to China Monday in the hopes of salvaging some of his company’s “face” in a market that Toyota had struggled in before the massive recalls of 2009.
“Given China’s strong sense of rivalry with the U.S., after we explained our situation to American lawmakers and apologized to U.S. customers last week, there isn’t an option for Mr. Toyoda and the company to skip China,” remarked one senior Toyota executive this week. This is all well and good but you’re going to need more than that Mr. Toyoda. The Chinese just don’t like you nor your cars that seem more intent on killing people than Stephen King’s Christine. Might be that whole rape of Nanking thing, who knows?
As China moved ahead of the United States last year as the world’s leading car market with nearly 13 million vehicles sold in 2009, Toyota still lags well behind both Volkeswagen AG and of all “companies” General Motors Corp. The long-term survival of Toyota is dependent on a number of things of course but the Chinese market could be their savior.
Given the overall dislike of all things Japanese, minus anime, in this huge market, the future of Toyota in China is a dismal grey rainy mess unless Mr. Toyoda can pull a rabbit out of his ass or in an Oprah like move just give the damn things away to every one at the press conference.