Retailers, consumers and prices
Consumer Reports magazine’s senior director for automotive testing, Dave Champion, sat down with correspondents Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman at the Detroit auto show to discuss the U.S. auto industry, including Toyota’s future, the changing nature of the show, small cars and Chrysler.
“Toyota’s grown incredibly quickly; not only in the number of vehicles that they sell but also in the number of vehicles that they produce. They have a range of vehicles now that’s extremely wide. What Toyota used to have was a great attention to detail on every single part that went into the car and a real focus, very tightly, on the product. Now, with so many different variants and iterations and models, it was very difficult to keep that same focus and that same attention to detail on all the products.”
“The quality of the materials they’ve been using seems to have dropped off and the overall reliability of some of their cars has also not been the stellar (level) that it was in the past.”
“It comes from the top. Look what Alan Mulally’s done at Ford, very focused, one direction, everybody working in that direction. I think the recent changes at Toyota will bring that back, where they focus less on being the biggest, the best, the most stylish or whatever, going back more to their roots, ‘Let’s build something that people will want’ and that will be reliable and bring customers back year after year after year.”
About the Detroit show:
It was clearly a joke, but the bleak state of the auto industry was sadly evident when this happened at Estee Lauder Cos Inc.’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday.
Leonard Lauder, the company’s chairman, and founder Estee Lauder’s son, was first up at the meeting held at the St. Regis hotel in New York City.