Toyota’s Unique – and Profitable – Approach to Innovation

Toyota’s Unique – and Profitable – Approach to Innovation
Innovation
Christine Huang
  • 5 may 2008

This week’s New Yorker includes an interesting analysis of the success of Toyota, the car manufacturer that recently surprised many by selling 160,000 more automobiles in this year’s first quarter than GM, the world’s leader in automobile sales for 77 years running. These first quarter results may mean the end of GM’s run as annual sales leader, a significant event in the history of the automobile industry. New Yorker’s James Surowiecki discusses how this shift reflects Toyota’s quiet domination as the industry’s most profitable and innovative firm, despite many people’s perception of the company as being less of a leader and more of an astute follower, often being attacked “for being better at imitation than at invention.” But Surowiecki argues that Toyota, while not the sexiest name in the business, may be the most consistently, and successfully, innovative:

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