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More Toyota cost-cutting coming...

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Toyota is cutting costs relentlessly, though their cars seem as though more money’s being lavished on them. Part of that is “unseen incentives” — rather than giving rebates, Toyota’s handing out standard features and more expensive interiors, without raising prices.

Automotive News reported that the company is serious about keeping up their cost-cutting binge, with Akio Toyoda saying that the company is facing an existential crisis. The record profits of this past quarter are needed, he said, to invest in the future, as tastes move from sedans to crossovers and technology may move from gasoline to pure-electric. 35% of Toyota’s $10 billion R&D budget is being devoted to technology such as autonomous driving and electric cars.

Two of the company’s mainstay sellers in the US, the Corolla and Camry, appear to have switched from profit to loss, as competition has heated up and buyers have moved on to crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Toyota does make the most popular crossover in the US, the RAV4, but it’s in a highly competitive and likely not very profitable part of the market.

Part of the cost savings are to come from moving the Toyota Production System from factories into offices and R&D centers. Decision-making, according to one executive, will also be streamlines, with no more than four lines of key talking points and decisions made within a single hour — and then implemented within a day.


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