I bought TM based on an Article in Barrons recently that stated it takes them about 17 hours to make a car as opposed to about 22 hours for Gm or Ford. This is quite a significant indicator of profitability. Where ever Toyota makes cars it will make a profit.
As for the Hybrid thing. I think that there is probably more hype to hybrids then true value, this may be a liability to toyota because it really does not produce that much efficiency( some people are saying it only gets 44 mpg) when balanced against the risk in using a new technology- even if Toyota is by far the best quality auto in the world they take a big risk of tarnishing that image with this hybrid play. TM is in the best position to take this risk. The US automakers are smart to let them be the Judas Goat.
Cramer buys a lot in the Peter Lynch "Look around you" method of stock picking. He lives in an upscale NJ Neighborhood seeing bleeding heart liberals thinking they are poster children for the ecology economy because they go out and buy the hybrid. Most other americans are so strapped now that they are buying used Toyotas for the quality. But the hybrid may just be a chink in their coat of arms for quality -as the hybrid has an unknown record of long term perfromance The repairs on the thing will be very proprietary - you will have to go back to the nasty dealerships for service because the local grease monkey can't figure out their crazy transmission or lack there of.
consumer's "wo what a feeling" for toyota will cool and the US companies will try to fill that quality vacuum. DCX is in a good position to take advatnage here since they could try to inject the old school quality of Mercedes Benz into the marketing mix more agressively and pick up where Lee Iaococca left off when he said of that Maserati Chrysler Baron POS "It aint cheap but neither is caviar."
<DCX is in a good position to take advatnage here since they could try to inject the old school quality of Mercedes Benz into the marketing mix...>
Thanks in large part to Lexus, DCX's "old-school quality of Mercedes Benz" is ringing more and more hollow. MB clearly was once the leader in durability, but if you look at more recent long-term reliability surveys, you'll find that image is a shell of what it once was.
Consumers are beginning to wonder why they should spend tens of thousands more for quality that has been surpassed for decades - since 1990 when the first LS400 rolled off the line.
Even US brands as a whole are beginning to rival European marques for quality. DCX's acquisition of Chrysler (seemingly the worst of the 'big 3' in quality) has taken management's focus from the basics at MB, and TM has taken advantage.
What MB still has, though, is the cachet of its brand. There will always be a segment for whom image is more important than substance.