Read an interesting article in Newsweek about the clash between Toyota and GM. For a long time, Japan's Toyota toiled in GM's shadow. This year, the nimble Asian automaker will likely blow past the Detroit giant to become the world's biggest carmaker. The story of how it happened reads like a corporate to-do list. Companies from Microsoft to Boeing are now taking tips from Toyota.
Essentially it all boils down to this: Toyota makes cars for less than it costs GM, and it gets to sell them at a higher price than GM does.
Toyota is obsessed with quality. It's production system is focused on continuous improvement. Workers in Toyota factories stop the line thousands of times a day to make sure no quality glitch gets through. Companies like Microsoft and Boeing are emulating this system.
After a NASCAR cheating scandal in the US, and more painfully, negative news about a rash of recalls Toyota chairman Fujio Cho made a public apology in Japan last summer, complete with a deep bow.