Blog: Dave LeggettFAW-Toyota trip

Dave Leggett | 17 November 2006

Visited the FAW-Toyota plant in Tianjin that makes the Crown and Reiz earlier today (No.2 plant). It was a long way to go in a coach from Beijing, but it was interesting to learn a little about what Toyota is doing in China and how quickly it is growing now – after a slow start; Toyota was rather late to China.

The landscape between Beijing and Tianjin was a bit grim – barren, brown and dusty - with some smog thrown in. Our hosts looked after us well; FAW-Toyota President Takemoto Shozo spoke to us. 

We got a quick look at the assembly shop and there was an opportunity to ask questions. They were a bit twitchy on local content – described as being a sensitive issue that they are in dialogue with the government about (re duty regulations) and therefore they did not want to give a percentage figure out. There was also a reluctance to talk about the hourly wage rate for assembly workers – I’m guessing around US$1.

They did admit that they employ more people in China doing equivalent work to Japan and said that more people were needed to check quality in China.

One observation on yesterday's packed conference programme: keep it simple, speakers. One or two people slipped into content that could be described as company adverts and one or two tried to squeeze too much in. Phil Murtaugh's presentation was one of the best in that he stuck to the point and kept it short, leaving more time for questions. I've been guilty myself of overdoing it with presentations in the past - it's easy to do. Overall though, very good conference and most people I spoke to said it was very valuable on several levels, not least as a networking event.    

Beijing Auto Show is tomorrow. Must check out the Ford stand.

Unwinding in the China World Hotel are, left to right: Will Johnston (just-auto), Dave Leggett (just-auto) and Ashvin Chotai (Global Insight)

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