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商业 - 汽车

丰田汽车活力变身进行时

Doron Levin 2013年06月18日

丰田章男致力于为这家汽车制造商的产品注入活力,目前这一计划正在产生效果。丰田的花冠眼下是美国市场最畅销的超小型轿车,而新的、更令人兴奋的新车型也即将在今年秋天上市。

更多活力

    丰田汽车公司(Toyota Motor Co.)首席执行官丰田章男眼下可谓炙手可热。丰田汽车一直以牢固、可靠而著称,却始终无法令人感到兴奋。而丰田章男一直致力于为这家汽车制造商注入更多活力。公司的新款花冠(Corolla)便是这一计划最新的佐证。

    上周,丰田公司在洛杉矶发布了新款花冠汽车,并将于今年秋季在美国上市。发布会在圣塔莫尼卡机场的Barker Hangar展馆举行。发布会开始之前是眼花缭乱的杂耍表演,衣着性感的妙龄女郎在清澈的空中游泳池嬉戏雀跃。原《顶级厨师》(Top Chef)参赛者理查德•布莱斯也出席了发布会,为宾客调制了各种美食,如液氮鸡尾酒。

    丰田章男达到了目的。他本人虽然并未出席活动,但他的精神在这场炫目的活动中体现得淋漓尽致。

    57岁的丰田章男于2009年开始担任丰田公司首席执行官,当时的全球经济都已经陷入衰退。公司汽车销量下滑,而沸沸扬扬的丰田汽车意外加速事件更是让公司雪上加霜。后来公司进行的大规模召回令公司颜面扫地。好在检查结果证明,大部分汽车都没有发现安全问题。同时,丰田章男在2010年初表现得非常谦恭,就汽车安全问题造成的混乱向美国国会进行了道歉。

    最近,丰田章男在公司内经常使用的一个日语词汇是“waku-doki”,即“让你心跳加速”的汽车。去年夏天,丰田章男身穿赛车服,出现在新凯美瑞(Camry)汽车的视频广告中。他是商学院的高材生,同时也是丰田公司创始人的孙子,曾亲自帮助工程师在赛道上测试丰田新车型。上世纪80年代,还未开始在丰田工作之前,他经常驾驶一辆保时捷(Porsche)汽车,练就了精湛的车技。

    目前,花冠依然是美国最畅销的超小型汽车,而这个称号之前属于本田汽车公司(Honda)的思域(Civic)汽车。而且,在今年五月,凯美瑞汽车击败雅阁(Accord),成为美国最畅销的小型汽车。如今,本田、通用汽车(General Motors)或福特汽车(Ford Motor)都不是丰田公司最担心的竞争对手,能对丰田造成威胁的是大众汽车(Volkwagen AG)。大众汽车已经宣布,到2018年将超越丰田和其他竞争对手,成为全球规模最大的车企。

    Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Co.'s chief executive officer is on a tear. The company's new Corolla is the latest example of his initiative to inject pizazz into a carmaker known mostly for solid, reliable -- but unexciting -- vehicles.

    Toyota (TM) debuted the Corolla, which will arrive in U.S. showrooms this fall, in Los Angeles last week. Prior to the presentation in Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport was an over-the-top spectacle of acrobats, scantily clad mermaids cavorting in an airborne, transparent swimming pool. Former Top Chef contestant Richard Blais was in attendance, dispensing fancy offerings such as nitrogen cocktails.

    Akio Toyoda made his point. He didn't attend, though his spirit was clearly expressed at the glitzy event.

    Toyoda, 57, took over as Toyota chief in 2009, amid a worldwide economic slump. The slowdown in sales was compounded by an uproar over accusations of unintended acceleration in some Toyota cars. A humiliating recall followed. The safety issues proved mostly unfounded. In the meantime, Toyoda humbled himself in early 2010, apologizing before Congress for the safety mess.

    The Japanese expression Toyoda has been using lately inside the company is waku-doki, as in, cars that "raise your pulse." Last summer, Toyoda appeared in video advertising for the new Camry, dressed in a racing suit. A business graduate and grandson of Toyota's founder, he hashelped engineers vet new Toyota models at racetracks. He earlier sharpened his driving skills behind the wheel of a Porsche in the 1980s, before he came to work at Toyota.

    For the moment, the Corolla remains the top-selling car in the subcompact segment in the U.S., a title it seized from Honda's (HMC) Civic. Likewise, through May, Camry is the top-selling U.S. compact car, beating Accord. Neither Honda, nor General Motors (GM), nor Ford Motor (F) are Toyota's main competitive worries -- that distinction belongs to Volkwagen AG. VW has announced its intention to grab the No. 1 spot from Toyota or whomever by 2018.

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