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Toyota: Japan’s General Motors


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When I was a lad, growing up in the shadow of the Ford Rouge plant in Detroit, Japan was known for the manufacture of junky products — cheap knickknacks and toys that broke in your hand. With World War II, Japanese products disappeared, leaving some of us to wonder why it was taking so long to beat an enemy who couldn't even make decent toys. After the war, Japanese products came trickling back into the country and the image persisted. We still considered them junk. We compared the first little Honda hatchback to a tin can, which it was compared to the giant-finned boats our car companies...

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