In an August 8 speech titled “There’s No David Without Goliath,” Toyota Motor Sales USA executive vice president Jim Lentz told an industry audience at a conference in Traverse City, Mich., just what audience members needed to hear, the way they needed to hear it. He got off to a fast start—zero to 60 in the first sentence:
“Can there be a time of more turmoil in our industry? Do we have a bright future? Any future? Well, if you check the daily news, you’d think the sky was falling.
“Let’s see: Congress is bearing down on us, the states are suing us, environmentalists scorn us and we’re the villains on global warming, right? Plus, industry sales are sluggish, raw material prices are rising, companies are re-structuring, health care costs are escalating and gasoline prices are near record highs.Talk about challenges … we’ve got more than our fair share and then some.
“So, what do we do as an industry? Well, we can dig in, hold our ground and hope for the best. Or, we can do what we’ve always done: adapt to the new order, change for the better and come out stronger than ever.
“After all, nothing is more powerful than this industry taking decisive action and putting its full force behind it.