#14 – Why Me?

I asked Toyota USA President Yuki Togo, “Why me? Why was I selected to start Lexus?” He told me there were two reasons. First, several managers in the company had national market representation experience, but I was the only manager in the entire...

#16 – Stressed!

The largest product failure of all time is considered to be that of the Edsel Division of the Ford Motor Company back in the late 1950s. It was a secret car developed under the code name “E” which stood for experimental. Edsel was a separate...

#19 – He’s Not My Uncle!

Bob McCurry was not my uncle, but we were second cousins. My grandmother worshipped him and considered him her second son. He was the best man in my parents’ wedding, and they both considered him a hero.   When I got out of the Army in 1969...

#20 – Get Rid of Her!

Linda Takata was efficient, energetic, and enthusiastic. Everything and everyone at Lexus had to go through Linda, and I learned quickly this included me. If I or anyone else wandered away from the office without telling Linda where we were...

#21 – Design Dome Drama

The chief exterior designer for the Flagship 1 was Kunihiro Uchida. He was familiar with the American consumer, having spent two years at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Uchida-san was a young, sharp-looking designer who...

#22 – Motor Madness

The size of the Flagship 1 engine was hotly debated from the start. The Acura Division of Honda was supposed to have a luxury car, but it had a six-cylinder engine and was never accepted by the public as a true luxury vehicle. Toyota had only one...

#23 – The Shoebox

At the end of the day we met in a conference room near the design dome. Suzuki-san explained that every component that made up Flagship 1 was to be the best in the world so that it would be the finest car ever made, and this included the key...

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