Prius+Case+-+A,++Mar+2007 - Department of Management...

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1 Department of Management Science and Engineering Stanford University March 5, 2007 Business and Environmental Sustainability at Toyota Motor Corporation - A Development of Prius Hybrid Vehicle 1 It was an unusually warm winter afternoon when Takeshi Uchiyamada was walking back to his office and thinking about the meeting he just had with four Toyota executives. He was asked by Executive Vice President (EVP) Akihiro Wada to lead the G21 project for development of the 21 st century car. G21 was established in September of 1993 by Yoshiro Kinbara, then Executive Vice President in charge of R&D, heeding the vision of the Honorary Chairman Eiji Toyoda. Kinbara had assigned the project leadership to Risuke Kubochi, General Manager of the General Engineering Division, who formed the first G21 working group. Uchiyamada took over the leadership of G21 from Kubochi and held his first project meeting in February of 1994 (Ref.1). EVP Wada who had asked Uchiyamada to assume responsibility as the Chief Engineer (CE) for G21 was looking for a leader who was open-minded to foresee the future needs and at the same time experienced to drive the team through the many challenges ahead. Uchiyamada was the right person. Uchiyamada was proud to be the chosen leader for the task that could shape the future of the auto industry, but felt the weight of his new mission on the way back to his office. He was contemplating what the car of the 21 st century could be. 1 Professor Robert Carlson and Dr. Dariush Rafinejad of Stanford Management Science and Engineering Department prepared this case in collaboration with Mr. Toshio Ohashi and with generous support of Toyota Motors Corporation as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright © 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University.
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2 Toyota’s History of Success and Characteristics of the Auto Industry in 1993 Exhibit 1 briefly describes the history of Toyota since its inception in 1937. The last seventy years have witnessed the company’s growth into a global manufacturer of motor vehicles poised to surpass General Motors Corporation as the industry’s number one in 2007. Exhibit 2 illustrates the trends in Toyota production and sales in Japan and overseas. By the early 1990 the auto industry’s competitive playing field had leveled. Detroit had caught up with the quality and production cost efficiency gains that Toyota had made in the 1980s. Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) demand was on the rise, particularly in the U.S. which represented Toyota’s largest served market. On the other hand, environmental concerns such as depletion of ozone in the upper
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Prius+Case+-+A,++Mar+2007 - Department of Management...

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