Toyota no longer profitable in the U.S.
July 22nd, 2009 by Bill Cawthon
Yoshimi Inaba, Toyota
's top executive in the U.S., says the company’s American operations are no longer profitable. Inaba, a Toyota
executive vice president is the president and chief operating officer of Toyota
America and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA.
This is a major problem for Toyota
, which gets the majority of its profit from sales in the North American market. Inaba says the company’s cost-cutting measures have been overwhelmed by a 38 percent plunge in sales of Toyota
vehicles so far this year. He also blames complacency, centralized decision-making in Japan and a dull product line for some of Toyota
’s woes, saying “Toyota
is a good car but not exciting. Those are the comments we usually (or) always get.”
Inaba isn’t ruling out plant closings or layoffs. It is currently considering what to do with the Fremont, California plant it operated as a joint venture with General Motors. GM pulled out of the partnership while in bankruptcy, leaving Toyota
with 4,700 United Auto Worker employees whose contract comes up for renewal next month. Toyota doesn’t want to close the plant because California is its biggest market.
Toyota also has a brand-new plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. he structure is complete but no equipment has been installed. Asked if Toyota might simply abandon the plant, Inada said he hoped that would not be the case.
Inaba is hopeful that an improving American economy will help Toyota return to profitability next year.