Also, I haven't disappeared, just busy lately, but I finally did another page.
Nakamura refuted this head-on. Car makers from now on should focus on developing cars, but companies who didn’t have that kind of development power wouldn’t progress that way, he thought. In reality, though, passenger car production was about 80% of total production in America, and in Europe it comprised more than 50 percent. Thinking of the future, his assertion that they needed to actively invest in establishing an automobile mass production system was unfolding.
Nakamura even emphasized this point to OONO Shuji [not sure on this name], the prominent executive director of the business group at the left hand of president Ishida. This was about 2 years before the plan for the crown started. After listening carefully to this assertion of Nakamura’s, Oono asked, “How much is the development of this car that you talk about going to cost?”
Nakamura immediately answered “Probably about 2.5 billion yen.” At the time, they only had 6000 employees, less than 10% the scale of Toyota today.
“I don’t think Toyota of today can’t come to grips with something costing that much, you know? You need a more realistic figure,” Oono replied with a look of shock. However, Nakamura didn’t step down one bit. “No, if we don’t develop this car, the company will go bankrupt, and eventually we have to realize this.”
Nakamura didn’t lower his tone after that, either. “To say ‘Don’t build the car’ is to destroy Toyota; it’s the same as saying it’s ok for Shepherd’s-purse
to grow in the Toyota factory.” [Shepherd’s purse is a type of weed/flower that gets its name from the triangular shaped seed pods (picture here
). In Japan, the name pen-pen grass (ぺんぺん草) is used because of the seed pod’s similarity to a Shamisen’s pick
. Pen-pen is the sound that the pick makes when playing.] This was one of Nakamura’s unique qualities: there were people who would look shocked as if thinking “He’s still talking!” but Nakamura didn’t care.
Having given those reasons, when Eiji and Saito were informed of the talk about the plan for a new car, they figured they should give it to Nakamura, since it was his idea. Because of that, he said things like “I can’t do something like that.” and “There must be someone better for the job.” At Toyota, there was a tendency for people to be given the jobs that they take the initiative to speak out about. It’s like the phrase says, “Start from high places.” [the phrase “隗より始めよ”is used here]
Nakamura, having finished listening to their brief story, asked “Do the big shareholders know about this plan?” Eiji quickly understood that “big shareholders” meant former president TOYODA Kiichiro. “Of course,” Eiji replied.