GOD OF HOPE

Lexus – God, Guts, & Aspirin

#13 – The Corolla from Hell

Joe and Barbara D. purchased a Toyota Corolla diesel in March from a dealer north of Columbus, Ohio. They returned it to the dealership immediately, complaining that when they put the car in reverse it shuddered badly. The dealership Service Manger had never seen this...

#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 company who had both...

#15 – You Don’t Smile Enough

It was a dark and gloomy fall day in 1986 when Dr. Toyoda, his wife, and Mrs. Togo visited Cincinnati. Irv Miller was the assistant in the region. The plan was for Irv and me to pick up our three guests at the airport and bring them to the regional office where we...

#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 division from Ford and...

#17 – How to Survive the 405

For 26 of the 29 years I worked for Toyota, I drove 37.8 miles to the national office in Torrance each morning and 37.8 miles back in the evening on the 405 San Diego freeway.   My first three years at Toyota I fought the commute. I tried listening to classical...

#18 – Office Politics- Togo vs. McCurry vs. Perkins

Political battles in the office have derailed many careers, and I was caught in the middle of doozy. To be fair to the men involved, I don’t believe it was a fight that Jim Perkins wanted, Bob McCurry expected, or Yuki Togo could have avoided.     Yuki Togo,...

#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, I received a job...

#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 going, we had to put a...

#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 presented himself...

#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 V-8 engine, and it...

#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. Suzuki-san showed us the...

#24 – 35 Ounces (10 Grams)

Chief Engineer Suzuki was determined that Flagship 1 would achieve its fuel mileage target of 23.5 miles per gallon and avoid the gas-guzzler tax. When I asked about the tool kit and first aid kit, I did not realize the fierce battle that was being waged to keep the...