Welcome to Toyotaland?
Toyota Motor Corp. President Hiroshi Okuda has said he wants nonauto businesses to account for 10 percent of the company eventually. Toyota currently is considering joining computer-game maker Sega, ad agency giant Dentsu and trading house Mitsui in an amusement-park venture. The consortium is bidding for a plot of reclaimed land facing Tokyo Bay. If the Sega-led group's bid is chosen, Toyota would set up virtual-reality centers where players could experience next-generation transport systems - including, presumably, cars.
CAFE FRAY - The battle over corporate average fuel economy targets has resumed. American Automobile Manufacturers Association President Andrew Card told a congressional subcommittee last week that CAFE is 'a flawed policy (that) is skewing the market against the consumers' own interests.' But the Gas Guzzler Campaign, which wants the standards raised, contended advertising is the reason motorists are buying inefficient sport-utilities and pickups in rec-ord numbers. Campaign director Linda Horvath said the group would try to con- vince motorists they don't need sport-util- ities and trucks for most driving, and urge them to demand more-efficient vehicles.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU -How better to honor someone you want to be like than to declare them the best? Earlier this year, General Motors Chairman Jack Smith mentioned that he envisioned GM's Delphi parts subsidiary being like its Japanese competitor, Denso Corp. Last week, GM presented Denso International America with its 'Corporation of the Year' award. That award singles out one supplier among 173 of GM's 'suppliers of the year.'
RIGHT TRACK - 'It's going in the right direction,' is how Chrysler International's Asia-Pacific President Ronald Gardhouse described the dollar's fall last week to ¥111, from ¥127 only three weeks earlier. Still, he said the swift currency shift won't affect strategy at Chrysler, which buys more from Japan than it sells there. 'No one has said, 'Don't sell too many cars in Japan.''
NIGHT MOVES - Score one for the night shift at Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A.'s plant in Smyrna, Tenn. This Wednesday, May 28, it will build the first 1998 Altima. No one recalls Nissan ever launching production of a new model at night. How did Smyrna's second-shift workers win the honor? They just asked, according to a company spokesman. The new car will join vintage Datsuns and Nissans in a 'Dream Garage' in the final assembly area.
FANNING THE FUMES - The 1998 Subaru 2.5 RS coupe is designed to showcase Subaru's efforts on the rally circuit. Styling cues it borrows from the rally car include a rear wing, five-spoke gold rally-style alloy wheels and a hood scoop. Is the hood scoop functional? Absolutely, says Alex Fedorak of Subaru PR. 'It's styling,' Fedorak claims. 'Don't tell me it doesn't have a function.'