He walked briskly toward the raised stage and took his seat at the desk, the first hints of sweat forming upon his brow. He adjusted his glasses as he sat, the cameras firing off a continuous volley of assailing light.
The foreign press huddled at the foot of the stage like hungry vultures ready to tear him apart. He suddenly wished he’d brushed up on his English since his Babson days. ‘Toyota cars is safety’ had done absolutely nothing to assure investors’ worries during his last conference. He made a mental note not to ask at the end if anyone had any questions.
In the flashes, he could hardly see, but Akio Toyoda calmly half-nodded, half bowed to the assembled media and began.
“I…the people who drive Toyota, the people who care about Toyota, I am a little bit worried about…the, about the style-free cars we offer them.”
Nervously fondling a pen in one hand, trying to indicate calmly with the other, he continued, a picture of one of Toyota’s 2010 lineup hitting the screen behind him.
He nearly smacked his own forehead as he realized his repeated mistake, but soldiered on.
“Customer first is first priority. What does customers want today? I look into customer needs, I see the needs of people of today. In Japan, we drift upon the roads like the spring’s cherry blossoms on the gentle breeze. I, ah, Toyota has lost sight of this.”
The next slide appeared behind Toyoda.
“We must reflect on the mistakes which we have made. We try to increase our style better, so our, this kind of style pleases the customer. Toyota must take sexy back. Asian peoples, we enjoy the drifting. I, Toyota, have failed customers to provide them with the Asian drifting experience. So, as President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, I have chosen to recall Toyota vehicles, all Toyota vehicles. ”
The final slide came into view behind him. The cameras fired at their highest intensity.
“Toyota customers, those which are unhappy with the product which are produced for them, bring their cars to Toyota Dealerships. There, in dealerships, the wheels of the cars will switch with shopping cart wheels to provide better driving experience. If drivers do not wish for the same hope, it is my, ah, our hope that drivers with problems in the current line of cars run their style-free cars off the road without caution.”
Toyoda took a few moments to let the slide speak for itself.
“This reaction is a reaction that is not rash, but I am trying to do this work as soon as possible and with cooperation of our employees and our supplier. I will do my best.”
With that, he rose from his chair bow-nodded one more time to the press, and slowly exited the conference room.