Big Motor admitted to fraudulent insurance claims against a non-life insurance company, leading to a change in top management. Under the leadership of new president Shinji Izumi (54), the company has begun to move away from its fraudulent ways, but the trust it has lost from customers and employees is not likely to be easily regained. Automotive journalist Kumiko Kato, who has been reporting on the company’s management plan for two fiscal years from 2005 to 2006, has independently obtained a copy of the company’s management plan. She found that the “actual employment situation, which creates a negative cycle,” would not be easily changed simply by replacing the top management.
How hiring 600 new employees would bring in 4 billion yen
The first edition of the management plan that we obtained has “Big Motor’s best product is its employees” above the signature of then president Hiroyuki Kaneshige. The first edition of the management plan that I obtained has “Big Motor’s best product is its employees” above the signature of then president Hiroyuki Kaneshige. However, from around 2005, when this management plan was first produced, it became apparent that the company was taking advantage of the new employees it had hired in order to increase sales. The actual situation became apparent.
In an e-mail received from a person who has known Big Motor for a long time, he described how employees were being used in the process of hiring a large number of new graduates, only to have them leave the company in a short period of time. The summary is as follows.
<We have about 5,000 employees, but behind that number are nearly 40,000 retirees. Only those who can make the numbers remain. Life insurance companies have a similar system. To some extent, anyone can join the company, get themselves, their families, and their friends to buy life insurance, and when they can’t get any more policies, they naturally quit, leaving only those who can leave behind a good number….
The reason why Big Motor actively hires young inexperienced people is probably due in large part to the fact that they are ‘people who will honestly follow the company’s policies. It’s a very special work environment. I hate to say it, but young people with no experience are innocent and easy to brainwash.
Once you join the company, you are halfway forced to buy a car from Big Motor. And they give you a very long term loan such as 120 times loan. There is no employee discount for purchasing a car. The interest rate is 4.9%, half of the 9.9% for regular customers, but some of the new employees were given loans at the higher rate of 9.9%.
As for insurance, we were forced to take on ignorant young people who were buying a car for the first time and get insurance with higher premiums under various conditions, not to mention vehicle insurance. Of course, they were required to purchase insurance from insurance companies for which Big Motor was the agent.
The reason for hiring large numbers of people and forcing them to quit in large numbers was to force them to buy expensive cars, take out 120 loans (10 years), and buy voluntary insurance policies handled by Big Motor. In particular, new employees have little knowledge of loans when purchasing a car, and in most cases they do not realize the abnormality of taking out a long-term loan of 10 years, the same as ordinary customers, so they were only told the amount of the monthly repayment. Normally, it would be difficult for a new graduate to pass the screening for a high-cost loan of 5 million yen, but the strong relationship cultivated over the years between Big Motor and the consumer credit company seemed to have resulted in a very loose loan.
Even if a newly hired employee were to leave the company immediately after purchasing a car, the insurance would be in place for at least one year, and the loan fees would be in Big Motor’s pocket for 10 years. Another affiliate who knows Big Motor well reveals, “Even if all 600 people hired annually were to leave the company, the company would still receive a minimum of one year of insurance and 10 years of loan fees.
If we hire 600 people a year and all of them buy 5 million yen cars, Big Motor will receive more than 4 billion yen a year, including all commissions. If we hire a lot of people and increase the number of new hires, we can contribute to obtaining loan commissions and insurance quotas internally, and we can also strongly appeal the company’s good momentum externally. On the other hand, however, the company was also known for its high turnover rate in the industry.”
The company’s response to the “applicants for resignation” was very simple. This is evident in the following passage from the management plan.
＜If an employee says even one word about wanting to quit, the supervisor should ask the reason and grant the employee’s wish.
<People who wish to resign should submit their resignation letter promptly and quit as soon as possible.
What an event to look for employees to fire…
On August 1, Big Motor notified all employees that it was discontinuing this “environmental maintenance and inspection” program, In fact, in addition to the ostensible reason, there was another purpose. A current employee revealed, “The environmental maintenance inspections were to be used to check the cleanliness and to determine if there were any problems.
The environmental maintenance inspections are to check the cleanliness, the way employees greet each other, and the tidiness around their desks, but they are also an event to find employees to be fired. The manager told me, ‘If you are approached by the vice president, you are finished (fired). Do not make any conspicuous movements and stay away from the vice president.
In some cases, employees were forced to resign due to power harassment if, after being hired, they were judged to be “unusable” based on their employee training and work performance. It is tempting to wonder whether the company intends to hire another new employee to replace the one who quit and force him or her to buy an expensive car at a high interest rate.
At the end of March, Big Motor posted comments from Managing Director Tetsushi Itsumi on its official website, announcing its hiring plan.
<Big Motor will continue to develop this business model, which has revolutionized the structure of automobile sales, horizontally with even greater speed in the future. The key to this is human resources. This year, we have hired 600 new graduates, and we plan to hire even more in the next fiscal year.
The “employees are the best product,” as written by former president Hiroyuki Kaneshige, means that “employees who join the company are the ones who bring the company loan fees generated by the purchase of expensive cars,” and now that his “true intentions” have come to light, one wonders how many students will be interested in joining the company next year and beyond. How many students will want to join this company in the next year and beyond?
Interview and text： Kumiko Kato Management Plan： Kumiko Kato