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Date: April 26, 2007
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 2:22 - 278.7 KB - 16kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text in this online test.

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THE ARTICLE

Toyota - world's number one car seller

For the first time in history, a non-US car firm is the world’s number one carmaker. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation knocked the USA’s General Motors from the top spot in the first three months of the year to claim the world sales leadership position. This ends GM’s 76-year reign as the top dog in the international auto industry. Analysts expected this to happen following Toyota’s nonstop push for pole position. Industry experts predict Toyota will probably stay number one in the world for quite some time due to its efficient production methods and outstanding marketing. Excellent reliability, unbeatable prices and world class after-sales service will also help the Japanese company retain its grasp as the industry leader. The company’s Corolla car continues to be the top selling vehicle worldwide and a new model planned for launch in 2008 should keep things that way.

Unlike its American rivals, Toyota is enjoying bumper profits. Whereas the likes of Ford, Chrysler and GM are doing their best to cut costs to survive and stay in the market, their Japanese rival expects its profits to continue to grow from the $11.7 billion last year. Industry insider Jim Hossack believes Japan’s skilled and motivated workforce also greatly helps Toyota. "A job in the auto industry is still a prestige position in Japan," he said. He also puts Toyota’s success down to its unbeatable image, saying: "They have to keep their quality up, though they've had such a good reputation people forgive them when they have problems." Hossack added "People don't forgive GM when they have problems." Toyota executives were modest in recognizing their achievement. They insisted that the goal was to be number one in quality, not sales volume.

WARM-UPS

1. I’M A CAR: Imagine you are a car. Decide which one. Walk around the class and talk to the other “cars” in the class. What do you think of German, Italian, American and Japanese cars? What do you hate most about drivers…. Change partners often.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

history / carmakers / cars / Toyota / General Motors / leadership / experts / rivals / cutting costs / profits / prestige / reputations / achievements / goals

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. CARS: With your partner(s), match the cars on the left with the people on the right. Explain your reasons. Change partners and explain again.

  • 4-wheel drive Jeep
  • Italian sports car
  • Rolls Royce
  • Mini Cooper
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Antique 1930’s family car
  • George W. Bush
  • Madonna
  • Tiger Woods
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Bill Gates
  • Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

4. CAR OPINIONS: Talk about these opinions on cars:

  • Japanese cars are the best in the world.
  • There are too many cars in the world.
  • Carmakers shouldn’t make cars that can exceed speed limits.
  • I would absolutely love to have a Porsche or Ferrari one day.
  • Cars kill people and the Earth and should be banned.
  • The world is car crazy.
  • The car someone drives is an extension of his or her own personality.
  • Men are better drivers than women.

5. QUICK DEBATE: Have this quick debate with your partner(s). Students A think cars are a waste of time and money; students B think cars are a necessary part of society. Change partners and topics every two minutes.

6. TOYOTA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Toyota. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Toyota is the world’s number one car seller for the third time.

T / F

b.

General Motors spent 76 years as the world’s top carmaker.

T / F

c.

Experts predict Toyota’s time at the top will be very short.

T / F

d.

Toyota produces the world’s best-selling car.

T / F

e.

Ford and Chrysler have made bumper profits this year.

T / F

f.

The Japanese think working in the auto industry is prestigious.

T / F

g.

Consumers easily forgive General Motors if they have problems.

T / F

h.

Toyota’s goal is to be the maker selling the largest number of cars.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

firm

humble

b.

reign

grip

c.

outstanding

competitor

d.

retain

record

e.

grasp

good name

f.

bumper

leadership

g.

rival

company

h.

prestige

exceptional

i.

reputation

status

j.

modest

keep hold of

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

GM’s 76-year reign

reputation

b.

stay number one in the world for

as the top dog

c.

efficient

recognizing their achievement

d.

help the Japanese company retain its

that way

e.

…should keep things

profits

f.

Toyota is enjoying bumper

motivated workforce

g.

doing their best to cut

production methods

h.

skilled and

costs to survive

i.

such a good

quite some time

j.

Toyota executives were modest in

grasp as the industry leader

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Toyota - world’s number one car seller
 

For the first time in ________, a non-US car firm is the world’s number one carmaker. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation ________ the USA’s General Motors from the top spot in the first three months of the year to ________ the world sales leadership position. This ends GM’s 76-year reign as the top ________ in the international auto industry. Analysts expected this to happen following Toyota’s nonstop push for ________ position. Industry experts predict Toyota will probably stay number one in the world for quite some time due to its ________ production methods and outstanding marketing. Excellent reliability, unbeatable prices and world class after-sales service will also help the Japanese company ________ its grasp as the industry leader. The company’s Corolla car continues to be the top selling vehicle worldwide and a new model planned for ________ in 2008 should keep things that way.

 

 

 

dog
retain
claim
efficient
history
launch
pole
knocked

________ its American rivals, Toyota is enjoying bumper profits. ________ the likes of Ford, Chrysler and GM are doing their best to cut costs to survive and stay in the market, their Japanese rival ________ its profits to continue to grow from the $11.7 billion last year. Industry ________ Jim Hossack believes Japan’s skilled and motivated workforce also greatly helps Toyota. "A job in the auto industry is still a ________ position in Japan," he said. He also puts Toyota’s success down to its unbeatable ________, saying: "They have to keep their quality up, though they've had such a good ________ people forgive them when they have problems." Hossack added "People don't forgive GM when they have problems." Toyota executives were modest in recognizing their achievement. They ________ that the goal was to be number one in quality, not sales volume.

 

 

prestige
insisted
whereas
expects
image
unlike
reputation
insider

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Toyota - world’s number one car seller

___________________ history, a non-US car firm is the world’s number one carmaker. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation knocked the USA’s General Motors ___________________ the first three months of the year to claim the world sales leadership position. This ends GM’s 76-year ______________ dog in the international auto industry. Analysts expected this to happen following Toyota’s nonstop ___________________. Industry experts predict Toyota will probably stay number one in the world ___________________ to its efficient production methods and outstanding marketing. Excellent reliability, unbeatable prices and world class after-sales service will also help the Japanese company ___________________ industry leader. The company’s Corolla car continues to be the top selling vehicle worldwide and a new model planned for launch in 2008 ________________________.

Unlike its American rivals, Toyota ___________________. Whereas the likes of Ford, Chrysler and GM are doing their best to cut costs to survive and stay in the market, their Japanese rival expects ___________________ grow from the $11.7 billion last year. Industry insider Jim Hossack believes Japan’s skilled and motivated workforce ___________________ Toyota. "A job in the auto industry is ___________________ in Japan," he said. He also puts Toyota’s success down to its unbeatable image, saying: "They have to keep their quality up, ___________________ a good reputation people forgive them when they have problems." Hossack added "People don't forgive GM when they have problems." Toyota executives were modest in recognizing their achievement. They ___________________ was to be number one in quality, not sales volume.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘top’ and ‘dog’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “CAR” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about cars and carmakers from around the world.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • non
  • knocked
  • reign
  • predict
  • reliability
  • launch
  • bumper
  • rival
  • motivated
  • image
  • problems
  • volume

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you read the headline?
  2. What do you know about General Motors and Toyota?
  3. Are you interested in cars?
  4. Do you think it’s interesting to know who the world’s top carmaker is?
  5. How do you think GM stayed at the top for so long?
  6. Do you think an American carmaker will be number one ever again?
  7. What are the differences between Japanese and American cars?
  8. Why are Japanese cars more reliable than American cars?
  9. Do you think Japanese and American car workers are different?
  10. What after sales service do you think car makers should give?

--------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What are the most popular cars in your country and why?
  3. Would you like to work in the auto industry?
  4. What do you think of Toyota’s image?
  5. Toyota also produces Formula 1 cars. Do you think GM should do likewise?
  6. Why do you think there are so few American cars on the roads outside of the USA?
  7. Would you buy a Toyota or a General Motors car?
  8. What do you think of Toyota’s hybrid energy cars that are more environmentally friendly?
  9. Are you a family car person or a four-wheel drive person?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

DRIVING: Your job is to make recommendations on how to improve cars. In pairs / groups, identify the major problems with cars in the categories below. Decide on three suggestions for their improvement. Agree on and circle the extent of the “present problem” (1 = very serious, 5 = no problem).

CATEGORY

PRESENT PROBLEM

RECOMMENDATIONS

Fuel efficiency

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Safety

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

The interior (seats, dashboard, luggage space, etc.)

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Handling

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

After sales service

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Looks

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Change partners and explain what you discussed with your previous partner(s). Give each other feedback on your ideas. Combine your ideas to make your recommendations even better (you have to agree on the three best recommendations).

Return to your original partners and discuss any changes you made.

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

Toyota - world’s number one car seller

For the first time in history, a (1) ___-US car firm is the world’s number one carmaker. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation knocked the USA’s General Motors from the top spot in the first three months of the year to (2) ___ the world sales leadership position. This ends GM’s 76-year (3) ___ as the top dog in the international auto industry. Analysts expected this to happen following Toyota’s nonstop push for (4) ___ position. Industry experts predict Toyota will probably stay number one in the world for quite some time due to its efficient production methods and outstanding marketing. Excellent reliability, unbeatable prices and world class after-sales service will also help the Japanese company retain its (5) ___ as the industry leader. The company’s Corolla car continues to be the top selling vehicle worldwide and a new model planned for launch in 2008 should keep (6) ___ that way.

Unlike its American (7) ___, Toyota is enjoying bumper profits. Whereas the likes of Ford, Chrysler and GM are doing their best to cut costs to survive and stay in the market, their Japanese rival (8) ___ its profits to continue to grow from the $11.7 billion last year. Industry insider Jim Hossack believes Japan’s skilled and motivated workforce also (9) ___ helps Toyota. "A job in the auto industry is still a prestige position in Japan," he said. He also puts Toyota’s success (10) ___ to its unbeatable image, saying: "They have to keep their quality up, (11) ___ they've had such a good reputation people forgive them when they have problems." Hossack added "People don't forgive GM when they have problems." Toyota executives were modest (12) ___ recognizing their achievement. They insisted that the goal was to be number one in quality, not sales volume.

1.

(a)

non

(b)

ex

(c)

auto

(d)

pro

2.

(a)

calamity

(b)

calm

(c)

claim

(d)

clam

3.

(a)

rein

(b)

reign

(c)

rain

(d)

rant

4.

(a)

polar

(b)

pole

(c)

poll

(d)

Pole

5.

(a)

grabs

(b)

clasp

(c)

gasp

(d)

grasp

6.

(a)

anything

(b)

thingy

(c)

thing

(d)

things

7.

(a)

rivals

(b)

rivalry

(c)

rivaled

(d)

rivets

8.

(a)

excels

(b)

excerpts

(c)

expects

(d)

except

9.

(a)

greatly

(b)

greatest

(c)

greatness

(d)

great

10.

(a)

on

(b)

in

(c)

down

(d)

up

11.

(a)

thought

(b)

though

(c)

thou

(d)

through

12.

(a)

for

(b)

as

(c)

on

(d)

in

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about the Toyota Motor Corporation. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. CARS POSTER: Make a poster about different car-producing countries around the world. How are they different? Show your poster to your class in the next lesson. Vote on the best one(s).

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about Japanese carmakers and how they are taking over the motor industry. In particular, write about Japanese workers and quality. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Which article was best and why?

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the CEO of General Motors. Ask him/her three questions about why his/her company is falling behind Toyota. Give him/her three pieces of advice about how to get back to being the number one carmaker. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

firm

company

b.

reign

leadership

c.

outstanding

exceptional

d.

retain

keep hold of

e.

grasp

grip

f.

bumper

record

g.

rival

competitor

h.

prestige

status

i.

reputation

good name

j.

modest

humble

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

GM’s 76-year reign

as the top dog

b.

stay number one in the world for

quite some time

c.

efficient

production methods

d.

help the Japanese company retain its

grasp as the industry leader

e.

…should keep things

that way

f.

Toyota is enjoying bumper

profits

g.

doing their best to cut

costs to survive

h.

skilled and

motivated workforce

i.

such a good

reputation

j.

Toyota executives were modest in

recognizing their achievement

GAP FILL:

Toyota - world’s number one car seller

For the first time in history, a non-US car firm is the world’s number one carmaker. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation knocked the USA’s General Motors from the top spot in the first three months of the year to claim the world sales leadership position. This ends GM’s 76-year reign as the top dog in the international auto industry. Analysts expected this to happen following Toyota’s nonstop push for pole position. Industry experts predict Toyota will probably stay number one in the world for quite some time due to its efficient production methods and outstanding marketing. Excellent reliability, unbeatable prices and world class after-sales service will also help the Japanese company retain its grasp as the industry leader. The company’s Corolla car continues to be the top selling vehicle worldwide and a new model planned for launch in 2008 should keep things that way.

Unlike its American rivals, Toyota is enjoying bumper profits. Whereas the likes of Ford, Chrysler and GM are doing their best to cut costs to survive and stay in the market, their Japanese rival expects its profits to continue to grow from the $11.7 billion last year. Industry insider Jim Hossack believes Japan’s skilled and motivated workforce also greatly helps Toyota. "A job in the auto industry is still a prestige position in Japan," he said. He also puts Toyota’s success down to its unbeatable image, saying: "They have to keep their quality up, though they've had such a good reputation people forgive them when they have problems." Hossack added "People don't forgive GM when they have problems." Toyota executives were modest in recognizing their achievement. They insisted that the goal was to be number one in quality, not sales volume.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - c

3 - b

4 -b

5 - d

6 -d

7 - a

8 -c

9 -a

10 - c

11 -b

12 - d

 

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