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Daihatsu dismantles 'Toyota Way' as market changes

Scrapping parent firm's famed keiretsu system is behind affiliate's success

Daihatsu shaved off US$1,000 in the manufacturing costs of the Mira e:S minicar by removing its keiretsu - an informal but close interlocking business relationship between a manufacturer and its suppliers, cemented by cross-shareholdings and personnel exchanges.

Ikeda, Japan

WHEN Daihatsu Motor Co launched the Mira e:S minicar in 2011, the Toyota affiliate thought it had found a model for emerging markets. The Mira e:S - e for eco, S for smart - was capable of going 30 kilometres on a litre of petrol for a sticker price of just 795,000 yen, or S$