Dancing On The Graves

Dancing on the proverbial graves of beleaguered car companies has become all the rage in the past decade. We saw a lot of it in 2008 — including the poorly chosen campaign rhetoric that has come back to haunt Michigander-non-grata Mitt Romney: ”Let Detroit go bankrupt!”

Since 2009 the mighty Toyota brand has been battered by a PR nightmare of unintended acceleration, carpet malfunctions and mysterious system failures. Then a year ago an earthquake and ensuing tsunami laid waste to much of Japan’s industrial base — shutting down car plants and disrupting the worldwide automotive supply chain.

And now with General Motors proudly proclaiming record profits and reasserting leadership as the world’s biggest selling car company, the peanut gallery is crowing that the Toyota’s era has passed.

This kind of talk is as premature as Mark Twain reading his own obituary. Not only did the company produce combined Toyota, Lexus and Scion profits of $5.6 Billion in the past fiscal year, but it has taken an aggressive posture in all it’s key market segments.

The success of the newly restyled Camry — America’s best selling sedan — is critical for Toyota and so far sales are strong and based on a recent test drive, the car still delivers exceptional value and performance.