Toyota: Way, Way Off-Road by Ian Rowley. Business Week has an article exploring the non-automotive Toyota, as we have mentioned previously: Toyota Robots – Toyota as Homebuilder – Toyota Engineers a New Plant: the Living Kind.
Toyota controls dozens of businesses that have virtually nothing to do with automaking, ranging in size from resort developer Nagasaki Sunset Marina (77% owned by Toyota), with just five employees, to Toyota Financial Services Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary with 8,000 workers and $1.7 billion in operating profits in fiscal 2005. All told, revenues for Toyota’s nonauto businesses jumped 15.5%, to $10.3 billion, in the year through March, and are up 50% since 2003. While last year’s total still represented less than 6% of Toyota’s overall sales of $180 billion, if broken out the company’s sideline businesses would rank No. 192 among companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
Following that tradition of corporate exploration, since 1986 Toyota has had a New Business Project Committee to look into concepts in five areas, including factory automation, electronics, and biotechnology.
And this this long term thinking is an important part of Toyota’s management system.