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TOYOTA MOTOR PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO COMMENTS ON U.S. WORKERS

     TOYOTA MOTOR PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO COMMENTS ON U.S. WORKERS
    GEORGETOWN, Ky., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Fujio Cho is the president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc., which produces Camrys in Georgetown, Ky.  The following is his response to recent comments by a Japanese government official who said American workers are lazy and illiterate.
    I was shocked and disappointed to hear the recent disparaging comments about American workers attributed to a senior Japanese government official.  I can only guess that his lack of experience with American workers caused him to form these misguided impressions.
    Obviously, I cannot fix the damage caused by his remarks.  However, I can discuss my personal experience working with over 4,000 Americans in Georgetown.  Maybe I can help set the record straight.  Simply put, I have been here five years now, and I have great respect for our team members.  They impress me more everyday with their diligence and hard work.  They deserve praise, not criticism.  The success of this American workforce is a great source of pride for me and for Toyota's management in Japan.
    Ever since we started production in 1988, our team members have proven their outstanding capabilities time after time.  For example, our Camry matches the quality of those made in Japan.  In fact, our dealers tell me that customers are now asking for Kentucky Camry's.  That is very good to hear.
    When I came to Kentucky in 1986, I faced the challenge of building and staffing an automobile manufacturing operation that would produce over 800 vehicles a day.  I was pleasantly surprised not just with the volume of applicants, but particularly with the quality of the people who wanted to join our team.
    Although I see this outstanding work ethic every day, one incident sticks out in my mind.  About three years ago we went through our first bad-weather day at the plant.  The snow started in the morning and, as it continued in the afternoon, I became concerned about our second shift because many of our team members travel a long distance each day.  But I did not have to worry.  As it turned out, many team members on our first shift volunteered to work overtime to cover for the second shift.  That impressed me so much.  But I was even prouder when virtually our entire second shift showed up early, because they anticipated slower travel time due to snow.
    I'm positive that no one would call this "lazy".
    I could mention so many other examples of the American work ethic, such as my visits to various U.S. auto supplier plants or my experience at Toyota's joint venture with General Motors in California.  I am always so impressed with the effort and talents of the American workers.
    I sincerely regret the recent negative comments about the American worker.  I hope Americans do not assume that such sentiments are representative of all Japanese.
    I would like to say thank you to every team member at our plant in Georgetown and our suppliers' plants throughout Kentucky and the United States.  Thank you for you hard work and ingenuity.  You are building a product respected around the world.  You should be proud, just as Toyota is proud of you.
    -0-        2/3/92
    /CONTACT:  Jim Wiseman or Barbara McDaniel of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, 502-868-2061/
    (TOYOY) CO:  Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. ST:  Kentucky IN:  AUT SU: SM-AH -- NY027 -- 6098 02/03/92 10:53 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1992
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