"Toyota has become a red-white-and-blue role model. How? By understanding Americans better than Detroit does."
The world's most profitable automaker - and soon to be its biggest - now has a 15% market share in the U.S., where it sold 2.5 million cars and trucks last year. Because Toyota is already bigger than Chrysler in the U.S. and is about to pass Ford, Automotive News, the industry bible, has retired the "Big Three" moniker; GM, Ford, and Chrysler will henceforth be known as the Detroit Three.
Toyota had some advantages over Detroit: It was unburdened by retiree obligations, union contracts that had been bid up over decades.But the most important reason that Toyota became America's most prestigious automaker is that this quintessentially Japanese company has been better than Detroit at reading the American car psyche.