Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Toyota has one small car and many big plans

Toyota lastly enters the compact car race in India. At stake is much more than the Indian marketplace.

Hot, grimy, full of noxious fumes and infrequently splattered with dog-piss, the road Yoshinori Noritake was staring at in Bangalore seemed forbidding. The chief engineer at present for Toyota’s passenger vehicles division, he tugged uncomfortably at his custom made suit. The Peace Boulevard in Hiroshima seemed a distant dream from one more time. But with the precision characteristic of Toyota, the company he works for, he positioned himself at that great icon of Indian democracy — the traffic signal.

Through the chaos, he could see hideous trucks hold court with quaint auto-rickshaws; government buses enforce the iron hand of the state; faux SUVs air-kiss the real McCoys; taxis in the center of a mutiny and small cars organizing a monocracy; handcarts, pushcarts and cyclists seemed desperate to secede, but nobody gave a damn really.

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