Surendra Bhandari1 [available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1624068 ] Abstract Toyota was established in 1937 in Japan. First time it introduced its product Corona in the US in 1965. By the 70’s, Toyota was the best-selling import brand in the US. During the 80’s, it started manufacturing vehicles in the US. In 2006, it had globally become the second largest car seller and third largest car sellers in the US having more than fifteen percent market share. It is estimated that by 2008 it is going to be the number one car producer and seller both in the US and across the world. This profound success of Toyota is associated with its most proficient market strategy. The case of Toyota notably proves that how important is market strategy in the life of a company to be a market leader.
1. Mission Toyota’s mission statement is as follows: “To sustain sustainable growth by providing the best customer experience and dealer support.” (Toyota, 2007) Customer satisfaction is the driving force for Toyota, which inspires it to provide the highest quality products and services. “Kaizen” is a word that Toyota upholds, which means “continuous improvement” of its technology, products, and services. In short, Kaizen for customer satisfaction is Toyota’s mission. Toyota further explains its mission as follows:
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“Around here our values are just like yours. We are hard working. We are active in community. We are creating jobs. We celebrate our diversity. We are building cleaner greener cars. And this is just the beginning.” (Toyota, 2007) 2. Distinctive Competencies Among others, three distinctive competencies of Toyota are remarkable. These distinctive competencies appeal the consumers, build trust with them, and make them satisfied. These competencies are as follows: i. Popular Economy Car: Toyota is best known for ‘popular economy car’. It has successfully branded the concept of ‘popular economy car’, by producing cars matching to the concept. It has garnered its success by selling the concept to the consumer. It has also become profoundly successful in segmenting, targeting, and positioning. As a result, based on the pricing reports generated by over ten million visitors, out of top ten cars, three are Toyotas – Toyota Camry (No. 2), Toyota Corolla (No. 4), and Toyota Avalon (No. 8). (Kelly Blue Book, 2007) It produces eight varieties of cars. Among them, the prices for the four varieties cars range 10,000.00 US $, three varieties range 15,000.00 US $, and one variety ranges slightly over 20,000.00 US $. ii. Cutting-edge Technology: Toyota simply did not stop to the concept of ‘popular economy car’. This concept could have easily turned into product maturity and decline. But Toyota continuously engaged in improving technology – design, looks, comfort, fuel efficiency, environmental friendliness, and other technical improvements. For example, Toyota Corolla was first introduced in Japan in 1966 and in the US in 1968 as a first generation Toyota Corolla. Since then roughly in every three years it is being developed and marketed in a new model. By 2006, tenth generation of Toyota Corolla was already launched with significant technological improvements. Toyota’s hybrid cars can be taken as another example. It started producing hybrid cars in 1995 however till 1999 Japan was
the only market for its hybrid cars. Coming to 2005, it became successful to capture a large chunk of US market. Today, it is selling almost seventy five percent of its hybrid cars alone in the US market. iii. Low Operating Cost: Why consumers purchase Toyota? The simple answer is that Toyota’s cars are distinctive with the properties of low operating cost. For example, a survey carried out by Toplin Strategy Group in 2007 has revealed that 73% of Prius owners had bought Toyota Prius because of financial incentive to purchase...