5.2. Customizing the IMV in Asia

In the mid-1970s, Toyota made its first attempt at local customization in the Philippines and Indonesia with its so-called Asian cars. All development and design processes for these low-priced multipurpose vehicles—known as Basic Utility Vehicles (BUVs)—were done locally. Production of the BUV began in the Philippines in November 1976 and in Indonesia in May 1977. In Indonesia, it was called the Kijang (Indonesian for "deer"). Producing the Kijang required minimum investment in stamping and other new production equipment, so, overall investment in the local production plant was small. Toyota also encouraged local development of parts manufacturers to reduce the need for expensive parts imports from Japan. To boost productivity and encourage employees to help one another when necessary, the motto on the shop floor was gotongroyong, meaning "mutual assistance."[]

The BUV was the precursor to the launch of the Innovative International Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) project in September 2002. But developing the IMV was much more challenging because it had to meet the diverse needs of consumers in more than 140 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, Central and South America, and the Middle East. Road conditions, including unpaved roads, varied from country to country. One set of customers might need vehicles that could accommodate large families, while another set wanted to transport building materials or vegetable produce. In Middle Eastern countries, ...

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