"It shows Toyota is tackling challenges, a step at a time," he said. "Change isn't going to come suddenly. But the process is going steadily."
Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, also showed several samples of doors that had been stamped with Toyota President Akio Toyoda's autograph, as well as cartoon creatures.
Toyota said the metal stamping technology is new and developed within the company.
The new stamping, which also produces sharper shapes on car exteriors, will be introduced for the limited edition iQ subcompact model going on sale in a few months, according to Toyota.Toyota officials said that, despite cost-cutting, the company must stay nimble in responding to fickle customer tastes. Also demonstrated was a new paint technology that allows different shadings without causing an uneven surface. Officials said they hope to make cars with custom paint jobs and contoured stamping to order. No timeframe was given. The production efforts are part of an initiative spearheaded by Toyoda for the automaker to become more distinct in design and repair its tarnished reputation for quality. Like other Japanese automakers, Toyota is recovering from a difficult 2011, when production was disrupted by a supply shortage caused by the earthquake in northeastern Japan. But Toyoda is trying to rally his company under the slogan of "making ever-better cars." ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at http://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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