June 24, 2015
Toyota is the largest manufacturer of cars in the world. They have earned this title by becoming synonymous with quality for a small quantity of cash. When Toyota came to the US in 1957 their sales were not astronomical. They started sales in 1958, they only had two cars for sale, the Toyopet and the soon to be legendary Land Cruiser. That year only 288 cars left the dealerships, only one of which was a Land Cruiser. Needless to say, Toyota saw the news as the wrong kind of dramatic. The Toyopet was large sedan. Other than reliability, it was not considered a good car. Sluggish and expensive sans swank. By 1961 Toyota was in a position where they could cut their losses on the Toyopet, because the Land Cruiser swiftly attained star status by staring dead into the world renowned Jeep’s soul... until it blinked. The Toyopet was discontinued, and the engineers toiled for years, designing a car to remove the sour taste the Toyopet left in consumers' mouths. Toyota unveiled the Corona in 1965, it immediately started selling like water in the desert. The Japanese automaker designed a car specifically for the American market; small and cheap, automatic, with a great AC and engine. This car tripled sales and established Toyota as a manufacturer of quality cars. Three years after the Corona, a star was truly born, the light of which reached the US in 1968. The Corolla Sprinter (by the way, that article starts of super racist, just a heads up) was the dramatic new addition to the Toyota family. It is the most prolific car the badge has to offer; over 40 million copies have been sold to date. The company did not even publicize where, when, or who bought the 40 millionth, likely because they sell so quickly the information is not available to anyone. Astonishingly, the Automaker is actually quasi-family-owned. The motor company actually started as a textile company, Toyoda Loom Works, founded by Sakichi Toyoda. Sakichi is considered one of the kings of Japanese inventors. His son Kiichiro was the one interested in cars, he did research on them from 1929 to 1930, before officially adding an automotive branch to his father’s loom company in 1933. Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. was officially established in 1937. Kiichiro ran the company until his death in 1952. After that it was not until 1992 that another Toyoda took the helm, his son Shoichiro. Today, Shoichiro’s son Akio is president and CEO of the company. Recently, Akio wanted to make his company more global. So he appointed 3 non-Japanese people to positions at their Japanese headquarters to shake things up. The change resulted to be a bit more jarring than expected. Unfortunately, 2 of the 3 positions were not well received. First, one of the promoted executives, Didier Leroy, addressed the shareholders… in broken Japanese, which offended and angered quite a few of them. Then a few days later, another was arrested. Julie Hamp was, publicly, arrested for importation of narcotics. Apparently, she sent 57 tablets of Oxycodone to herself hidden (or possibly spilled into) a package labeled necklaces. This is a bit above a faux pas in Japan. Drug laws are quite strict there, the maximum penalty. if they tag on intent to sell is life in prison. Hamp claims she didn’t know she was importing an illegal substance, but that will be a hard case to fight with the volume and method of transport. It is especially troubling when considering, some reports are saying that she doesn’t even have a prescription in the US. Having 57 tablets of Oxycodone without a doctor’s prescription is super illegal anywhere. In most places it carries the highest drug classification. The US drug laws are insane (i.e. possibly racist), but even here it is a Schedule II drug along with cocaine. Yet still, Akio is standing by Hamp, he is actually the one that promoted her. He says; as an executive she is an integral part of the Toyoda family and that it is his fault for not teaching her better. What is most disconcerting about this; is that because of her arrest; instead of rumors of the new Prius SUV coming up when you Google Toyota, her dramatic news appears.