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Innovation may come harder, but Toyota sticks to its old ways

Carmaker's vast web of alliances brings stability but hampers agility

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor is a rarity in today's world, as an automaker that has maintained tight links to its suppliers and related companies. For that, it is much-loved and well-respected in the industry. But can it hold on to old ways of doing business in a rapidly changing industry? 

Toyota and its associates are proud of its identity as an industrial keiretsu, a Japanese concept of a corporate structure in which companies are linked through joint ownership. The idea is to encourage cooperation in a way that is mutually beneficial for the whole supply chain.

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