Le problème de communication de Japan, Inc.

TOKYO – Quel que soit l’avenir de Toyota après le rappel forcé de plusieurs millions de voitures, son histoire restera légendaire. L’ascension du constructeur japonais, « rejeton » d’une entreprise familiale de machines textiles d’une zone reculée du centre du Japon, parti de rien pour devenir le premier constructeur automobile mondial, est étonnante. Aux côtés d’autres symboles de la réussite industrielle japonaise, comme Sony, Honda et Canon, Toyota était le fleuron du miracle économique japonais et l'emblème du défi posé par leur émergence sur la scène mondiale.

Il reste à voir si les problèmes actuels de Toyota sont temporaires ou irréversibles. En dépit de l’humiliation qu’il subit aujourd’hui, le constructeur conserve des atouts considérables – et de toute façon, la concurrence n’est pas tellement en meilleure posture. Mais pour préserver leur position de leader mondial, Toyota – et la plupart des transnationales japonaises – doivent opérer une transformation culturelle.

Comme le démontrent les atermoiements du président et directeur général (et petit-fils du fondateur) de Toyota, Akio Toyoda, alors qu’il était appelé à témoigner devant le Congrès américain, Toyota a un sérieux problème mondial de communication. Ce problème tient en partie à une faiblesse plus générale des Japonais concernant les langues étrangères, notamment l’anglais. Mais en tant qu’acteur de premier plan sur la scène économique et premier constructeur automobile mondial, cette excuse ne tient simplement pas la route.

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