This year’s U.S. presidential election once again revealed a deep divide between “red America” and “blue,” a trend few Japanese marketers have been aware of.
Herein rushes Toyota, with the kind of car that many of those in red America love to drive to rodeos, NASCAR races, college football games, or to shop at Wal-Mart, but definitely not to drop by Starbucks for a latte: the pickup truck!
Toyota has penetrated the U.S. market by primarily attracting fuel efficiency-conscious, urban, middle class consumers, i.e., those in the blue. With little or no experience in dealing with red America, how does the car manufacturer try not only to sell the trucks but also to build brand loyalty and allegiance? Striking a good balance with U.S. automakers is important as the pickup truck remains one of the few markets not deeply penetrated by Japanese automakers.
View Full Opinion (in Japanese) (PDF—121kb)
I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.
[Regarding President Trump's shift from enthusiasm to uncertainty over the U.S.-North Korea summit] In effect, President Trump is getting a mini-lesson in talking to the North Koreans even before he talks to the North Koreans.
[Kim Jong Un] did not engage diplomatically at all in those first seven years [as the leader of North Korea], probably because he didn’t want to hear the Chinese nagging him about advancing these weapons. And also he wasn’t going to start bargaining or negotiating them away. ... Kim has done a pivot where he’s doing a maximum engagement.