Herald-Leader exclusive: Georgetown plant central to Toyota's mission, president says

ssloan@herald-leader.comAugust 24, 2011 

GEORGETOWN — During his visit to the Georgetown plant Tuesday to commemorate the launch of the new 2012 Camry, Toyota President Akio Toyoda gave an exclusive interview, through a translator, to the Herald-Leader.

Here are the highlights:

On the plant's role in Toyota globally: "Toyota stakes its own future and well-being to this plant in Kentucky. This plant over all these years has continued to produce the Camry, and it's a symbol of dedication for Toyota here."

On sales suffering from the company's recent quality issues and parts disruptions stemming from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami: "We are struggling in terms of our sales because of quality issues and parts and supply disruption. However, more recently, I think the evaluation by third-party, outside entities like J.D. Power has been that we're back to our previous quality level.

"The fact that we suffered from a shortage of supplies partly caused customers to support us greater. Our relationship and ties with customers have become even stronger than in the past. ...

"We've been able to restore production much quicker than originally thought. ... I really feel the entire operation has a strong energy, and therefore I'm confident that the extraordinary efforts being made will produce a wonderful Christmas season and wonderful new year."

On Central Kentucky's impact on the plant: "Above anything else, without the tremendous support and encouragement coming from the local community here in Georgetown as well as Lexington, we wouldn't have been able to continue producing and operating here. ... Simply saying we appreciate that is not enough to thank you for this tremendous support."

Scott Sloan

Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.

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