Execs at rival firms used to puzzle over how Toyota could possibly expand so fast while maintaining quality. As the recall crisis continues growing, they know now it couldn't, writes Paul Ingrassia. Toyota sensed weakness among US automakers and opportunity in emerging markets over the last decade and badly overstretched itself, Ingrassia writes in the Wall Street Journal, noting that Consumer Reports now ranks Ford higher than Toyota.
Toyota used to swear by "never building a new product in a new factory with a new workforce," but it abandoned that policy when it started building the Tundra pickup in Texas in 2006, Ingrassia notes. To turn itself around—and the company has plenty of resources to do it—Toyota will need to abandon its insular style and start developing stronger leadership in other countries, Ingrassia writes. (Read more auto industry stories.)