Two Key North American Executives “Retire” From Toyota

June 17, 2007

Toyota announced that two of its executives have retired. With Toyota getting spanked in the recent JD Power IQS ratings by FoMoCo and Porsche, as well as nagging problems with the Camry and Avalon (documented in great depth in our earlier report here on The Four Wheel Drift), we wonder whether these retirements were actually more of a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass while we’re kicking you out” type of move.

Here is the official word from Toyota. We’ll let you decide!

Convis, Smallenberg to Retire From Toyota
Sturdevant named new president of Canadian Autoparts Toyota, Inc.

06/13/2007 Erlanger, KY…Toyota announced today that Gary Convis, chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK), executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) and Gary Smallenberg, president of Canadian Autoparts Toyota, Inc., (CAPTIN) will both retire from the company.

“We thank both gentlemen for their focus of quality, vision and hard work during a very challenging period for Toyota in North America,” said Seiichi Sudo, president and COO of TEMA. “They have each had a tremendous impact on our growth. Both are true ambassadors for the Toyota Way and will be missed by all.”

Convis, 64, began his career with Toyota at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), a joint venture with General Motors in April 1984 as plant general manager responsible for manufacturing operations and personnel. In May 2000, he joined TMMK, Toyota’s largest plant outside Japan as executive vice president and became president and eventually was named chairman. In June 2003, his responsibilities were expanded to include two additional assignments; managing officer at Toyota Motor Corporation and executive vice president of Toyota’s North American manufacturing operations. In his retirement, Convis will serve as senior executive advisor to Toyota.

Under Convis’ leadership, TMMK began producing the Camry hybrid in October 2006, the first Toyota hybrid vehicle built in North America and was responsible for bringing the North American Production Support Center to Georgetown, Kentucky, which trains Toyota’s 30,000 team members across the continent in a standardized manner.

Smallenberg, 60, began his career with CAPTIN in 1991 as vice president, secretary and member of the board. CAPTIN, located in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota. In January 1998, he was appointed to president and corporate secretary and was also named as a member of the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., based in Cambridge, Ontario.

Under Smallenberg’s leadership, CAPTIN has had a number of expansions, including a just-completed C$39 million/US$35 million expansion earlier this month – CAPTIN’s sixth in its 24-year history.

Deryl Sturdevant, 51, vice president, will become the new president of CAPTIN effective immediately. Before joining CAPTIN one year ago, Sturdevant served in a variety of roles at NUMMI, including general manager of plant operations, and assistant general manager of human resources, environmental, engineering, maintenance and new model introduction. Sturdevant joined NUMMI in February 1990.

Andrew McFadyen, 45, general manager, has been promoted to vice president of manufacturing and engineering of CAPTIN.

TMMK, located in Georgetown, employs about 7,000 team members and is Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant in North America. Its annual capacity is 500,000 vehicles and engines and produces the Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon and Solara vehicles as well as four cylinder and V6 engines. TMMK has a total investment of nearly $5.5 billion.

CAPTIN employs about 300 team members and manufactures over 42 different designs of aluminum wheels for Toyota cars and light trucks. The company supplies Toyota assembly and service organizations in Japan, the United States, and Canada. CAPTIN’s total capacity exceeds 1.7 million aluminum wheels annually. CAPTIN has a total investment is C$247million/US$223 million.


Car humor

June 7, 2007

There’s just something about automobiles that makes them the perfect central figure in jokes. Blame it on the technical complexity, importance to image, or people’s inability to operate them, car jokes are plentiful.

Here are some of my all-time favorites.

A guy has his old truck towed into the mechanic, because it wouldn’t start. The mechanic fiddles under the hood for a couple minutes then reaches into the cab and the truck instantly fires up.

“Just crap in the carburetor,” says the mechanic.

Surprised, the truck’s owner looks at the mechanic and replies:

“How often am I supposed to do that?”

A beautiful blonde drives her Mercedes into dealer and asks why her new car has “710” written on the engine. Confused, the service manager has her pop the hood and point out where this mysterious “710” label is.

With the hood up, the lady points to this round plastic item and says:
“See it says ‘710’ … and it even looks like something is supposed to go in there.”

The service manager reaches down and spins the cap 180-degrees.


There once was a man from Boston
Who drove a brand new Austin
There was room for his ass
And a gallon of gas
But his balls blew away and he lost ‘em

The list of obligatory English car/auto electrics jokes:

Why do Englishmen like their beer room temperature?
-Their ‘fridges are made with Lucas electrics

English cars don’t leak oil, they simply mark their territory

The English car driving motto:
“A gentleman shouldn’t motor after sunset.”

What’s the definition of “life in prison”???
-Being sentenced to death by electric chair in England.

Why is a Stutz better than a woman?
– According to Stutz’s motto it “made good in a day.” In contrast , it takes the average woman five dates.

What’s your favorite car joke? Let us know!