By on June 27, 2019

Having recently announced plans to “popularize” battery electric vehicles, Toyota now expects half of its global volume to stem from electrified cars by 2025. That’s five years sooner than originally promised.

Toyota may seem perpetually averse to change but it has been making a lot of moves behind the scenes to ensure it’s at the forefront of a shifting market while also trying to future proof itself in the event that electrification winds up being a dead end. The plan is rather complex and, as I don’t want to re-write a 900-word article, I would like to redirect you to the relevant information.

However, as nuanced as Toyota’s overall strategy may be, the company is still going to need to spend truckloads of cash to remain in the game. With that in mind, the Japanese automaker appears to be investing $2 billion to develop electric vehicles in Indonesia over the next four years — with hybrids being first on the docket.  (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

While it’s difficult to muster sympathy for giant corporations, the trade war current raging between the United States and China has left many stuck in an industrial limbo. Automakers want a bigger slice of the global market, but putting your eggs in either country’s basket will result in repercussions from the other.

We’re not saying this to promote some kind of commiseration for multinational companies; rather, it’s simply to remind everyone of how the auto industry has to conduct its business. Frequently, carmakers must play both sides. Toyota, already one of the world’s largest automakers, knows this better than anyone, and new documents shed light on some of the cloak-and-dagger aspects of maintaining its high-volume position.  (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2019

While the Trump administration is carefully considering whether or not imported vehicles qualify as a threat to national security, and prepares for trade negotiations with Japan, Toyota is being very careful about how it comes across in America. Last week, the automaker announced plans to add about 600 jobs across the Southern United States — raising its proposed American expansion by another $749 million. In total, the company is expected to expend $13 billion inside the U.S. by 2022.

“In a time when others are scaling back, we believe in the strength of America and we’re excited about the future of mobility in America,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said of the decision.

Throwing some casual shade at other automakers who are cutting down their domestic workforce is a sound PR strategy but, according to Toyota, its increased investment has nothing to do with global or industrial politics.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

Built for current Toyota patriarch Akio Toyoda, the Century GRMN celebrates both the man and his desire to create a more emotive and performance-driven automaker. With the V12 gone, the standard Toyota Century is powered by a direct-injected, 5.0-liter V8 with a two-stage electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery. The powertrain is good for a claimed for 375 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, delivered silky smooth.

Painted white (below the break), the GRMN prototype nixes some chrome trim and adds black ground effects, subtle red stripes, and applicable badging. But Toyota never bothered to tell us what Gazoo Racing actually did to improve the car. Presumably, suspension and engine upgrades abound. But, as the car was meant as a one-off gift for Toyota’s president, we never heard about them.

Then, at the Tokyo Auto Salon, a second one appeared — casting doubts that this car doesn’t have aspirations for a super-lux market that’s currently thriving.  (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2018

Toyota has been exceptionally vocal about its desire to spice up the brand and, for the most part, it has delivered. Expressive, sometimes polarizing, designs have begun populating its lineup as company president Akio Toyoda endlessly talks up the merit of sporting vehicles. While other chief executives focus solely on promoting mobility, he’s discussing the importance of building fun-to-drive cars.

The company’s motorsports group, Gazoo Racing (GR), has even started cranking out tuned versions of the brand’s road cars. However, none of them have made it to North America — nor will they. Despite all of Toyoda’s seemingly earnest talk of performance models, the United States hasn’t seen it manifest into anything tangible.

Considering Toyota also decided not to offer GR models in the U.S., and with cost-cutting measures making the 86 coupe a potential candidate for discontinuation, Akio’s grand vision doesn’t look particularly robust in the West.  (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2018

Starting with the introduction of the 86 (Scion FR-S in North America) in 2012, Toyota began spicing up a brand viewed as being more synonymous with bulletproof reliability than fun. While this manifested itself primarily through more expressive exterior design choices, the brand also introduced performance-tuned GRMN variants in Europe and Japan. It’s also bringing back the Supra, arguably the brand’s most iconic sports car.

Still, a subset of the population looks back at Toyota’s history with a particular fondness for the mid-engined micro machine known as the MR2. Discontinued in 2007, the model was as endearing as it was fun to drive — especially those earlier incarnations, when it looked like a pint-sized Lotus Esprit. And, as luck would have it, Toyota’s European vice president of sales and marketing Matt Harrison says its return isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.  (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2018

While the Japanese government has walked on eggshells when discussing trade issues that are transforming the globe into an angry beehive, the nation’s automakers have been more forthright. However, they’re both getting increasingly vocal as the situation escalates.

As the United States and Japan head into trade discussions scheduled for July, it’s beginning to look like everyone will come out swinging — especially when it comes to the automotive industry. Last month, the White House launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new tariffs on some of Japan’s biggest U.S.-bound exports.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso was uncharacteristically negative toward the current U.S. trade policy during a Group of Seven finance leaders’ gathering held last week. “It’s deeply deplorable,” Aso said. “Inward-looking policies involving one-sided, protectionist measures benefit no country.” (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

You need cash if you’re going to make it in this industry, and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda wants more of it. The automaker’s top executive, who characterizes the dangers facing his company in the same manner of a military general defending the Japanese mainland, has launched an all-out assault on what he fears is Toyota’s biggest threat: unnecessary expense.

“With our rivals and the rules of competition also changing, a life-or-death battle has begun in a world of unknowns,” Toyoda said during a fiscal update last week. “Cost reduction is crucial. It is a fight to restore our original strength.”

To shore up his business’s finances in preparation for new investments, Toyoda has seven warriors ready to slash costs wherever savings can be found. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2018

UberToyotabestbuds

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says he expects the company to have its own autonomous cars within a year but, since the company doesn’t build cars, it needs to partner with one that does. Until now, the company has been in bed with Volvo Cars, previously stating its intention to purchase 24,000 self-driving XC90 SUVs from the brand between 2019 to 2021.

However, the relationship between the two firms isn’t exclusive or binding. That means Uber can still play the field, and may have already found a friend with benefits in Japan.

On Thursday, Khosrowshahi posted a photo on Twitter of himself laughing with Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda and Executive VP Shigeki Tomoyama at the automaker’s headquarters. “Having fun with Akio-San and Tomoyama-San @ToyotaMotorCorp HQ,” he wrote. “Great discussions about growing our #autonomous partnership and lessons 4 me in building a great culture. And yep, those are Ichiro [Suzuki’s] bats.”

It seems Toyota could be the side piece Uber is looking for.  (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2017

Toyota logo dealership sign
Toyota Motor Corp. is shuffling its management team because it’s worried about the automotive industry’s uncertain future. The changes, announced this week in Tokyo, take effect at the start of the new year. Toyota wants to diversify its corporate leadership in order to handle the changing shape of car building and the growing role of “mobility.”

However, an argument can be made that the company might be browning its pants prematurely. While the current nature of the automotive industry appears to be evolving into something else, it won’t happen overnight. Still, company president Akio Toyoda talks of the shifting winds as if someone has placed a gun to his head.

“Over the next 100 years, there is no guarantee that automobile manufacturers will continue to play leading roles in mobility,” Toyoda explained. “A crucial battle has begun — not one about winning or losing, but one about surviving or dying.” (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma 4Runner Tundra TRD - Image: ToyotaEarlier this month, Toyota board chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada told CNBC that the company was “skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience.”

It shouldn’t be perceived as a revolutionary thought. But with automakers increasingly touting their plans for “electrification” — a word too many observers have interpreted incorrectly — and regulators increasingly promoting their plans to do away with internal combustion engines, Uchiyamada’s honesty regarding the limitations of electric vehicles flew in the face of advanced automotive thought.

It did not, however, fly in the face of conventional Toyota thought. According to Reuters, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, says, “EVs are in focus at the moment but customers and the market will ultimately decide which powertrains will be successful.”

You’d almost think Akio Toyoda was — crazy as this may sound — running a business. (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2017

Toyota Camry NYIAS 2017, Image: Toyota

Despite being Japan’s biggest automaker, Toyota has lagged behind many of its rivals in terms of cutting-edge technology. Most major car manufacturers have already begun developing self-driving vehicles, with some going so far as to make strategic partnerships with companies specializing in the applicable technologies. By contrast, Toyota has a strong R&D program but never saw fit to pursue autonomous development or battery-electric vehicles quite so aggressively as General Motors or Renault-Nissan, for example.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has now admitted that may have been a mistake. At the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, he promised the automaker would become more committed to achieving technical developments. Toyoda didn’t bring forward a concrete strategy but conceded the spending of additional capital would likely play a role — and an alliance or two isn’t out of the question. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2015

2013_Toyota_NDM_Akio_Toyoda_002

In a regulatory filing made Wednesday, Toyota President Akio Toyoda made ¥352 million ($2.84 million USD) in total 2014 compensation.

(Read More…)

By on June 23, 2015

Carlos Ghosn

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn did well for himself in 2014, banking around $16 million in compensation compared to the salaries of other automotive CEOs.

(Read More…)

By on March 21, 2014

Akio Toyoda

One day after Toyota agreed to pay a record $1.2 billion in a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department resolving a criminal probe into the automaker’s handling of a recall involving unintentional acceleration in its vehicles, president Akio Toyoda proclaimed the recalls changed Toyota for the better.

(Read More…)

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