Toyota to competitors: Get ready to play catch-up again

After taking the number one spot from GM in the first quarter of 2007 and then turning out record profits for the fiscal year that ended March 31, you would think Toyota would kick-back and relax. Well it doesn’t seem like that the growing Japanese giant has any plans on taking it easier on other auto manufacturers. Toyota is now planning to raise the bar to another level with its Takaoka assembly plant.

In the midst of a makeover that is set to be completed in 2009, the Takaoka plant will build more models, faster, with shorter assembly lines than any other Toyota factory in the world. According to Automotive News, it will use innovative approaches in every aspect of manufacturing including stamping, welding, painting all the way to the final assembly.

“I am confident that the radical changes being adopted by the Takaoka plant will make it a model for Toyota plants of the future,” says Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe.

Watanabe also wants to save Toyota more money. The current cost-cutting program generated annual savings of $2.5 billion, which Watanabe believes is not enough.

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