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New Century

Other Toyota Way Principles from the Prius Story

Notably missing from my recounting of this story are Principles 2-6 of the Toyota Way (under the category, The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results). These deal more with the processes used at Toyota to do the detailed work. […]

Toyota’s New Product Development Process

The seemingly impossible deadlines set by top leadership for the Prius project and the numerous technical challenges faced by the Prius engineers dramatically improved Toyota’s already excellent product development process in two key ways: 1. The cross-functional team and chief […]

The Clay Model Freeze-15 Months to Go

Over the next few months, Uchiyamada worked closely with the styling studios, the artists of the industry, to design the Prius. Finally, in July 1996, Uchiyamada had a car to develop. Once a car style development process reaches this point, […]

A New President with a New Mission-Prius Leads the Way

But something important happened in August 1995. Toyota named a new president, Hiroshi Okuda, the first non-Toyoda family member to be the president in the history of the company. From the outside, he was viewed as unusual for the Toyota […]

Phase III: Accelerating the Development Project

From the time Uchiyamada agreed to develop a hybrid concept vehicle in November 1994 until the deadline for the auto show in October 1995, there was less than a year to develop at least a workable hybrid engine and the […]

The Hybrid Gets a Push from the Top

At this point in 1994, the team still had rejected the notion of a hybrid engine. It was considered too new and risky technology. In September 1994, the team met with Executive VP Akihiro Wada and Managing Director Masanao Shiomi […]

The Prius Blueprint

Risuke Kubochi, General Manager of General Engineering, stepped forward and agreed to lead the effort. He was formerly the chief engineer of Celica. He had a reputation for being aggressive and not terribly friendly, but strongly determined to accomplish any […]