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By YURI KAGEYAMA – 5 hours ago
TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — Since he was a teenager, Takeshi Uchiyamada's dream was to make a car. But as he entered his 50s as a Toyota engineer, he had all but given up hope he would ever head a project to develop a model.
In 1994, he finally got his dream. Little did he know that the car he was about to design — the Prius — would revolutionize the global auto industry.
Uchiyamada, 61, now executive vice president, was tackling the first mass production gas-electric hybrid, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in December.
With other engineers, he trudged away at 16-hour work days, patiently testing hundreds of engines. Fistfights broke out over what option to take to overcome engineering obstacles.
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In Japan, my experioence would say that the "fistfights" probably broke out outside of work after a few beers. Some good engineering decisions often made at those times.
This says it all to me "As Uchiyamada tells it, the Prius wasn't the kind of car Toyota would have ever approved as a project, if standard decision-making had been followed. It was sure to be a money loser for years." - one sure fire way to kill an idea is to send it to comittee. I wonder if any Engineer in the big 3 had similar ideas around 1994 but saw them crushed by a comittee.