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

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda speaks at a small media roundtable on September 29, 2022 in Las Vegas.


LAS VEGAS. Toyota Motor CEO Akio Toyoda just stated last week what he would like his legacy to be: “I love cars.”

As a 66-year-old race car driver, car enthusiast and heir to the company, he will be remembered for his approach to all-electric cars versus gasoline-powered cars like the Supra or hybrids like the once groundbreaking Prius. in the coming years.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, plans to invest $70 billion in electrified vehicles over the next nine years. Half of this amount will come from all-electric batteries. While this is a significant investment in electric vehicles, it is smaller than some competitors’ plans and not as much as some would like given Toyota’s global footprint.

Despite criticism from some investors and environmental groups, Toyoda doubled down on its strategy last week to continue investing in a range of electrified vehicles, in contrast to competitors such as Volkswagen and General Motors, which have said they are going all-in. electric vehicles.

The plans could possibly reinforce Toyoda’s “I love cars” legacy or tarnish it, depending on how quickly drivers switch to electric vehicles.

“For me, playing to win also means doing things differently. Doing things that others might question but that we believe will keep us in the winning circle the longest,” he said Wednesday during the annual Toyota dealer meeting in Las Vegas, which the path believes was titled “Game to Win”.

Akio Toyoda with the new Toyota Supra

Paul Eisenstein | CNBC

Toyoda, who described Toyota as a major department store, said that the company’s goal “remains the same – to please the widest possible range of customers with the widest possible range of powertrains.” By 2025, these powertrains will include hybrids and plug-in hybrids such as the Prius, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles such as the Mirai, and 15 all-electric battery models.

In addition to plans for electric vehicles, Toyoda discussed several other aspects of the company’s business last week during a meeting with dealers and a small roundtable with US media.

Regulations and materials for electric vehicles

Toyoda reiterated that he does not believe all-electric cars will be adopted as quickly as regulators and competitors think, for a variety of reasons. He cited lack of infrastructure, pricing, and how customer choice varies from region to region as examples of potential barriers.

He believes it will be “difficult” to comply with recent regulations calling for a ban on conventional combustion-engine vehicles by 2035, as in California and the US. In New York, they announced that they would adopt.

“Like the free autonomous cars we should all be driving now, it will take longer for electric vehicles to become a mainstream phenomenon than the media would like us to believe,” Toyoda said in a recording of the dealers’ speech shown to reporters. . “In the meantime, you have a lot of options for clients.”

Toyoda also believes that there will be a “massive shortage” of lithium and nickel for batteries in the next 5 to 10 years, causing production and supply chain problems.

Carbon neutrality

In touch with dealers

“Merry Dance”

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