It was a sight that might make an auto exec smile. Ralph Nader, longtime auto safety advocate and frequent thorn in the side of Detroit automakers, got a slice of criticism thrown his way last week in the form of a flying pie. Nader was attacked by a pastry-wielding perpetrator while speaking at a press conference in San Francisco on behalf of a Green Party gubernatorial candidate. The tart-tosser fled through a side door.
SCORE ONE FOR THE WEST -- Remember all those books touting Japanese management? According to a survey of board members in Japanese corporations, Westerner Carlos Ghosn, president of Nissan Motor Co., is a better manager than any Japanese, living or dead. In a survey by the Japan Management Association, 16.8 percent of 210 board-level respondents ranked Ghosn tops as a business leader. Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Hiroshi Okuda and the late Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Co., tied for fourth with 6.4 percent of the votes.
SMART ATTACK -- Italian police arrested a man with a grudge against DaimlerChrysler's Smart cars after he torched 15 of them in a summer rampage in Rome, Reuters reports. "I can't stand the sight of Smart cars," police quoted the man as saying. According to the wire service, "Doctors have diagnosed the man as psychologically unhinged and a danger to society."
THE SCION-CE OF WORDPLAY -- Toyota executives have taken some barbs for their choice of Scion as the name for their brand-within-a-brand aimed at young U.S. customers. But Toyota employees are learning to have some fun with it. Among the cracks: They call Scion Vice President Jim Farley their "chief Sciontologist." One source fingered Wade Hoyt, Toyota spokesman in New York, as the originator of the wordplay. But Hoyt gives credit to "someone in California." Linda Simmons Hight, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, said of Toyota's humor: "I think it's kind of cute. It shows we are quite well-known."