The New Dude on the Road

With a big truck assault, Toyota aims to become the great American car company. Will the gamble work?

Had you attended a Texas state fair last year, you might have noticed a group of Japanese men dressed in jeans and boots, gazing at the sea of pickup trucks in the parking area. The men were from Toyota, which has been trying with scant success for years to persuade Americans to dump their Ford and Chevy pickups--the cowboy Cadillacs of the heartland--for a Toyota. Spending hours observing folks as they tailgated, hitched up horse trailers and hauled everything from plywood to goat sheds, the Japanese took copious notes, even if they still couldn't quite understand the American lovefest with the...

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