Business 2.0 named Toyota the Smartest Company of Year. With good reason: the Prius, the Scion and its marketing campaign, even something that other car companies take for granted--a minivan.
Here is Andrew Tilin's story of the man behind the Sienna:
Driving to the beat of the Pet Shop Boys' "Go West," Yokoya had many epiphanies. In Santa Fe, N.M., narrow downtown streets convinced him that the new Sienna should have a tighter turning radius. On the gravel of the Alaska Highway, he understood the need for all-wheel-drive. After squinting in the Mississippi sun along the Gulf Coast, he ordered roll-up sunshades for the second- and third-row side windows. There were small triumphs as well: On Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, he tried to make the minivan fishtail. He was happy to report that "it's difficult to put the Sienna into a spin."
Soon after its debut, the 2004 Sienna became the car critics' darling. Through the first 11 months of last year, Sienna sales were up 60 percent over the same stretch in 2003, moving it into second place in the U.S. minivan race behind the perennial top seller, the Dodge Caravan.
Read the rest of it here.