Behind the Troubles at Toyota

Toyota was the world's most admired automaker, a company that had redefined manufacturing. Then the recalls started. What can other firms learn from a corporate culture that went horribly wrong?

Robert Galbraith / Reuters

A row of 2010 Toyota Priuses at a dealership in Daly City, Calif.

Correction Appended: February 24, 2010

What's wrong with Toyota?

Not much. At least not from an engineering, mechanical or even a quality point of view. You don't reach the top gear in the global auto industry unless you make outstanding cars, which Toyota does — most of the time. Though cars are familiar machines, they are also highly complex ones. To create a modern car, a company has to design, engineer, build, buy and then assemble some 10,000 parts. Sell 7.8 million cars, as Toyota did worldwide...

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