Customer First

Putting Ourselves in the Customers' Shoes

"The only way to meet the needs of the customer is by putting yourself in his or her shoes and asking yourself what they need, what would make them happy."

Using this mindset, Toyota convinced itself to improve standard features without focusing on cost and also to use the "reverse thinking" that profits come from sales expansion. This thinking helped the Toyota Corolla evolve over time to become the vehicle that meets its customers' needs. One specific example of an improvement resulting from this thinking is back-up lights added to the rear of the Corolla, which helped ensure that drivers could see at night when backing up. While this is the sort of feature every family car needs, at that time, even mid-size vehicles were lacking them. In contrast, back-up lights were a standard feature on every single Corolla produced. Corolla's strategy of latching on to and then incorporating customer needs permeated the entire passenger vehicle market.

The 1.3 million people attending the new vehicle-release exhibition for the Corolla symbolized the fact that it had accurately captured the needs of customers at the time.