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Bob Elton's latest editorial for The Truth About Cars brings a clever angle to the story of how Toyota has vaulted over the backs of Big-Three competitors Chrysler and Ford, to land at GM's doorstep with battering ram in hand. Sure, building hot-selling cars is important, but so is persistence, Elton says, especially when aiming to crack large markets dominated by other carmakers. Take minivans, for example. Had Toyota bailed at the poor-selling, ovum-shaped Previa, it would never have applied its learnings — good and bad — to the latest Sienna, which is now a viable #2 to the Dodge/Chrysler juggernaut. On the other hand, Ford's planning to scrap its entire brand new crossover line (Freestyle/Montego), fire those who championed it, and sweep the entire incident under its corporate rug, thereby carrying not a single scrap of knowledge forward. Sounds like the perfect title for a new, corporate how-to: "Fail, Punish and Lose." Get our agent on the phone.

Toyota Uber Alles [The Truth About Cars]

Ford to Drop Current Freestyle After 2007; New Product Plan Emerges; Despite Discounts, US Carmakers Lose Share to Imports [internal]