Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda talks EV skepticism, ‘happy dance,’ his legacy

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda speaks for the duration of a small media roundtable on Sept. 29, 2022 in Las Vegas.


LAS VEGAS — Toyota Motor CEO Akio Toyoda past week only stated what he would like his legacy to be: “I love vehicles.”

Just how the 66-calendar year-outdated racer, car enthusiast and organization scion will be remembered concerning his approach to all-electric powered autos compared to gasoline-driven general performance cars and trucks, like the Supra, or hybrids, like the once-groundbreaking Prius, will perform out in the many years to come.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, ideas to devote $70 billion in electrified motor vehicles around the subsequent nine yrs. 50 percent of that will be for all-electric battery kinds. Though it is really a substantial investment in EVs, it can be smaller sized than some competitors’ ideas, and not as a lot as some would like specified Toyota’s international footprint.

Inspite of criticism from some traders and environmental groups, Toyoda this past week doubled down on his technique to keep on investing in a assortment of electrified autos as opposed to rivals this sort of as Volkswagen and Normal Motors, which have reported they are heading all-in on all-electrical vehicles.

The strategies could arguably cement Toyoda’s “I love vehicles” legacy or tarnish it, based on how swiftly motorists adopt electric powered cars.

“For me, actively playing to win also implies executing matters in a different way. Executing matters that many others might problem, but that we consider will set us in the winner’s circle the longest,” he claimed Wednesday all through Toyota’s once-a-year dealer conference in Las Vegas, which, by the way, was referred to as “Enjoying to Win.”

Akio Toyoda with new Toyota Supra

Paul Eisenstein | CNBC

Toyoda, who described Toyota as a massive office keep, claimed the firm’s objective “continues to be the similar, pleasing the widest attainable vary of shoppers with the widest feasible assortment of powertrains.” Those powertrains will involve hybrids and plug-in hybrids like the Prius, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai and 15 all-electric battery designs by 2025.

Apart from the EV programs, Toyoda talked about many other areas of the firm’s organization very last 7 days all through the dealer conference and a little roundtable with U.S. media.

EV regulations and elements

Toyoda reiterated that he does not believe that all-electric powered autos will be adopted as swiftly as plan regulators and competition think, thanks to a wide variety of motives. He cited absence of infrastructure, pricing and how customers’ alternatives differ area to location as illustrations of probable roadblocks.

He thinks it will be “tough” to fulfill latest restrictions that contact for banning traditional autos with inside combustion engines by 2035, like California and New York have said they will adopt.

“Just like the free autonomous automobiles that we are all intended to be driving by now, EVs are just heading to take longer to grow to be mainstream than media would like us to believe,” Toyoda stated in a recording of the remarks to sellers shown to reporters. “In the meantime, you have numerous options for consumers.”

Toyoda also thinks there will be “tremendous shortages” of lithium and battery quality nickel in the upcoming 5 to 10 years, primary to production and provide chain problems.

Carbon neutrality

Toyota’s aim is carbon neutrality by 2050, and not just as a result of all-electric powered autos. Some have questioned the environmental influence of EVs when factoring in raw content mining and in general auto generation.

Because the Prius launched in 1997, Toyota says it has bought far more than 20 million electrified cars throughout the world. The enterprise states people profits have averted 160 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equal to the impression of 5.5 million all-electrical battery vehicles.

“Toyota can deliver eight 40-mile plug-in hybrids for every single just one 320-mile battery electric auto and help you save up to eight times the carbon emitted into the atmosphere,” in accordance to organized remarks for Toyoda supplied to media.

Toyota’s hesitancy to launch all-electrical motor vehicles has been criticized by environmental teams these types of as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, which have the Japanese automaker at the bottom of car-business decarbonization rankings the earlier two years.

Standing pat with dealers

Toyota has no programs to overhaul its franchised dealership network as it invests in electrified vehicles, like some opponents have introduced.

“I know you are nervous about the long run. I know you are nervous about how this organization will alter. When I are unable to forecast the foreseeable future, I can guarantee you this: You, me, us, this business, this franchised product is not likely everywhere. It really is being just as it is,” he instructed sellers to resounding applause.

The franchised vendor design has been underneath stress immediately after Tesla and more recent EV startups commenced advertising instantly to individuals than somewhat by standard sellers.

GM has supplied buyouts to Buick and Cadillac dealers that will not want to devote in EVs, although Ford very last thirty day period introduced dealers that want to sell EVs will have to grow to be accredited beneath 1 of two courses — with investments of $500,000 or $1.2 million. 

‘Happy dance’

As portion of lighthearted and comedic comments to sellers, Toyoda mentioned he danced when the automaker outsold GM very last calendar year for the first time ever in the U.S.

Regardless of Toyota executives indicating the accomplishment wasn’t sustainable — GM led through the initially 50 percent of this yr — Toyoda even now felt it was cause for celebration.

“At Toyota, we like to continue to keep our head down and not talk about our accomplishment,” Toyoda stated in advance of reenacting the dance on stage. “But when I heard you became No. 1 in the U.S. very last year, I really did a minor satisfied dance in my office environment.”

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *