Section 2. Launch of New Management Systems
Item 2. Implementation of New Policies and Difficult Decisions
A Business Culture Committed to "Ever-Better Cars"
Vehicle models that gave concrete form to President Toyoda's unwavering call for "manufacturing ever-better cars" began to appear. In November 2009, the GAZOO Racing Project, which was launched in 2007 with the aim of increasing racing fans, sold a limited run of just 100 "iQ GAZOO Racing tuned by MN" (GRMN) iQ 130G vehicles tuned for enjoyment on both circuits and ordinary roads.
The Lexus LFA, positioned as the pinnacle of TMC's premium sports cars since the start of its development in the early 2000s, was formally announced and the sales overview released at the Tokyo Motor Show in October of that year. Equipped with a 4.8-liter V10 engine that provides maximum output of 560 horsepower (412 kW) and a carbon fiber reinforced polymer chassis that is both strong and lightweight, the LFA boasts a maximum speed of 325 km/h.
Sales prices were set at 37.5 million yen in Japan and 375,000 U.S. dollars overseas, and sales were limited to 500 units worldwide. TMC began accepting purchase requests in October 2009, and with more requests than available vehicles, the buyers were finalized in the spring of 2010. Production began in December 2010 and was to continue until December 2012, with units steadily being shipped to destinations around the world.
In order to foster a corporate culture committed to manufacturing "ever-better cars", TMC established the Toyota Awards, a new system of internal commendation for vehicles and technologies. The first time the awards were presented, the winners were selected from among vehicles with an initial market launch in fiscal year 2009 (ended March 2010) by employee vote, with the voting taking place in April 2010. In the new-vehicle sales category, President Toyoda chose as the winner of the Morizo Prize the Crown Comfort and Comfort, long-selling series used as taxis and driving-instruction vehicles, because "even though they are unspectacular, they are a presence that plays an essential supporting role in society." Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada selected the Welcab series of vehicles for the disabled for a prize, and the Prius and Lexus IS 250C were selected by employee vote.
In addition, the "We Love Toyota" initiative was launched in the spring of 2009 to encourage a sense of unity among all Toyota-related entities. The program aimed to raise employee interest in Toyota business and products and to deepen the feeling of loyalty among all Toyota-related entities, and it even led to employees more actively participating in introduction sales. As a part of these efforts, in April 2010, a We Love Toyota seminar was held in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, with the participation of the president. The seminar program included the Internal Prius Cup, a fuel efficiency competition by employees and executives active in creative idea activities and informal activities, as well as discussions and lectures on car-related topics. The seminar proved to be an excellent opportunity for the participants to engage in inter-departmental communication and to reaffirm a sense of unity.
As global demand structures changed because of the financial crisis, TMC adopted its "region-centric" policy of introducing products that meet the specific market characteristics of each region. In July 2009, TMC implemented measures to reinforce marketing functions in accordance with this policy, and in January 2010, it established two new companies, mainly drawing from its advertising and domestic and overseas marketing support divisions. Toyota Marketing Japan (TMJ) was created to handle domestic marketing, while Toyota Motor Sales & Marketing (TMSM) was created as a coordinating company to provide support to overseas regional marketing activities. TMC provided all of the equity for TMSM, which was also created as a holding company for TMJ and other affiliates such as Delphys, a Toyota Group advertising agency, establishing a structure for integrated business development by each affiliate.