Toyota Shows Big Three How It's Done

As G.M. and Ford are closing plants, Toyota is opening new ones, at sharply lower labor costs - which still include health care and retirement plans - than its American rivals.

Published: 17-Jan-2006

DETROIT, Jan. 12 - As General Motors and Ford struggle to remake themselves and rejoin the car wars, one company is proving what a successful American carmaker can look like: Toyota.

Unlike G.M. and Ford, bogged down by dozens of models competing for the same buyers, Toyota has a well-chosen lineup of both bread-and-butter cars and trucks that sell in big volumes as well as luxury models for which it can command a higher price.

As G.M. and Ford are closing plants, Toyota is opening new ones, at sharply lower labor costs - which still include health care and retirement plans - than its American rivals. And it is adding jobs at its existing plants, which produce 60 percent of the cars and trucks it sells here. While G.M. and Ford are trying to stop their declines and regain lost market share, Toyota is on an unimpeded roll. It held a record 13.3 percent of the American market in 2005, just short of third-place Chrysler, which it outsold during several months last year.

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