Inaba: Toyota must spice up lineup, will revive Scion and reshape Lexus

Reported earlier this morning, the head of Toyota’s North American operations Yoshimi Inaba, said that the automaker  is targeting a return to profitability in the region as soon as the next fiscal year, ending March 2011. While cutting costs and reducing inventory will play a huge part in getting that goal completed, Inaba admits that spicing up its vehicle lineup is another thing Toyota must focus on to increase market share in the United States.

Sent back to the U.S. to take care of North America by Toyota’s global chief Akio Toyoda, Inaba says that his new boss is “even more of a car enthusiast” than he is. He said Toyoda is hoping to fire up the passion for the Japanese automaker’s lineup.

“I’ll be careful to choose my words,” Inaba told reporters, “but I can see standing on the sidelines that there is not enough excitement in our vehicles.”

Inaba pointed to models such as the FJ Cruiser, a vehicle he helped develop. He said that the FJ Cruiser was very popular on the roads of countries where Toyota didn’t officially sell them because costumers absolutely had to have them.

Inaba said that he will focus on spicing up the Scion lineup and reshaping Lexus’. He said he vows to “revive the Scion spirit” and hopes to “figure out what is Lexus here in the U.S. … and what is the next phase of Lexus.”

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: AutoObserver