Dirk - I will throw my $0.02 in from having been there and worked in design directly with Toyota. My perspective is from the TMC (Toyota Motor Company) perspective. The Japanese leadership are, again in my experience, just as humble as you might imagine could ever be possible from a corporate leadership perspective. For real, they ONLY want to do what is right and best for the customer. They beat that into the engineers (especially the Camry engineers), and I appreciated working for such leadership. As hard and time consuming as it was, I appreciated it. It's the only company I have regretted leaving (because wife).
However, when things get handed over to the American side (sales - TMMNA), things are more bean counter focused there. And the bean counters will take advantage, and I believe that's where the term you mentioned, the Toyota tax stems from. So ... I say this with a suggestion to you that while I do NOT think you are wrong, keep in the back of your mind, there are a crapload of employees who all they want to do is conceive, design, develop and manufacture the best possible version of a vehicle for their customers. And American bean counters unfortunately get involved in the middle of a transaction and take advantage of the fact that the development group is so very effective. The bean counters make all their bar charts on their pretty powerpoint presentations and present to each other. Then those American fat cats head out to the golf courses, smoke their cigars, drink whiskey and pat each other on the back and congratulate each other on just how brilliant they are. When all they really have done is decide how high they can push margins and get away with it (keep sales numbers up).
Sorry, went off on one of Newman's rants...
View my fuel log 2020 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 42.9 mpg (US) ... 18.2 km/L ... 5.5 L/100 km ... 51.5 mpg (Imp)