Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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If the title of this blog post sounds like a car commercial, there would be a reason for that. It was taken from a car brochure. I’ve been to have a look at the Toyota Prius to get an idea of what it’s all about. There is a new one coming out in August that promises to be a significant improvement of Toyota’s current model.

This is particularly noteworthy from a performance management perspective:
  • Firstly the government’s ambitious targets for CO2 emissions are just that – ambitious. They have signed us up for something that we currently have no way of meeting.
  • Secondly, the UK government are incentivising us to get rid of our old gas-guzzling motors to drive something more eco-friendly (£2000 scrappage scheme).
  • Thirdly, it seems to be working.
Manufacturers are rising to the challenge. Toyota has a stated aim of “zero emissions”. Like the government, I don’t think they know how they are going to get there yet, but they are making some initial promising steps. Also, it appears that yesterday’s prestige cars are indeed being traded in for more eco-friendly models. I’m sure this is more to do with commerce rather than wanting to save the planet, but linking the two makes absolute sense.

So Toyota’s Prius – a “hybrid” - is a very interesting car. Working partially on battery, and partially on petrol, it takes some first steps into a lower emissions world. It delivers 72 mpg – double the performance of my car, and ahead of the iconic Smart Car (65 mpg for the MHD). It’s also made with the end-game in mind – 85% can be recycled when you have finished driving it. Clever stuff.

What is even more clever is how Toyota have managed to do it again. With the world in recession, car makers are having a terrible, terrible time. Toyota, however, is bucking the trend. Their showroom is busy. They have new cars on order and their staff are glad they don’t work for a competitor.

My information about how Toyota manages their business goes back to Liker’s book “The Toyota Way”. I am sure people must be researching the new developments – anyone know of more recent information?

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