Akio Toyoda once again launched a verbal attack on electric vehicles. Toyota Motor Chairman Akio Toyoda said publicly that the recent slowdown in sales proved his resistance to electric vehicles was correct, that people finally realized the reality of the failure of this technology and began to achieve carbon neutrality through other means. Toyoda also said automakers should continue to invest in hybrids rather than go all-out on electric vehicles.
While Toyota has announced a massive investment in electric vehicles, in sharp contrast, current Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda is still resisting electrification in this public place. He once said that "electric vehicles are not the only way to achieve the world's carbon neutrality goal", even criticized electric vehicles for being neither environmentally friendly nor energy-efficient, believed that electric vehicles were "over-hyped", and called for increasing the diversity of energy sources and promoting the potential role of hydrogen and biofuels.
Akio Toyoda, president of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), told a press conference during the G7 summit that "Japan's automotive industry is developing a full range of products worldwide, from passenger cars to light vehicles, large vehicles and motorcycles." The strength of the Japanese automotive industry lies in the diversity of technologies such as battery electric vehicles, hydrogen and hybrid power. . We need to be close to the reality of each country and region, respect differences and live with diversity. To do this, we need a wide variety of technologies. Japanese enterprises should refine their unique technological advantages and improve their competitiveness. I believe that the Japanese automotive industry's multi-way is to utilize the technology in areas where it is needed."
Takeshi Uchiyamada stepped down as Toyota's chairman on April 1 and was replaced by Akio Toyoda, who stepped down as Toyota's CEO and was replaced by Koji Sato.
As the grandson of Toyota founder Toyota Kiichiro, since taking over Toyota in 2009, Toyota Zhangnan's only task is to promote Toyota's long-term development, he has also led Toyota through Lehman crisis, brake door incident, Japan earthquake and Xinguan epidemic and other crises, but at the same time has been labeled as conservative electric vehicle development, has repeatedly questioned and criticized the development of electric vehicles in public. Therefore, for Toyota Akio to retreat to the second line, the industry believes that it is resistance and conservatism to the pure electric transformation route.
Toyota's electric transformation has been slow over the past few years, but the fuel car market has performed well, stabilizing Akio Toyoda's position. From 2020 to 2022, Toyota beat Volkswagen to become the world's car sales champion. However, when China, as the world's largest market, Chinese automobile brands are constantly encroaching on the market of foreign brands through electric vehicles, and at the same time go out to the global market, Toyota has absolute market share in the market, but if it still sticks to the traditional development route for a long time, it is bound to put Toyota into a development dilemma. Perhaps because of this "stubborn" attitude, Akio Toyoda is no longer suitable to lead Toyota forward. "I felt my limits and couldn't move Toyota beyond being a car company," Toyoda said in his outgoing CEO address.
Compared with Akio Toyoda's stubbornness, Toyota's current CEO Hisashi Sato expressed the opposite view of Akio Toyoda. Sato focused on electric vehicles in his 15-minute speech and did not echo Toyoda's view that hybrid systems and other technologies such as hydrogen will also help Toyota move toward a carbon-neutral future. "They're not only environmentally friendly, they're fun to drive and they offer a variety of experiences," he said of electric vehicles.
At the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota introduced a number of new electric concept cars, including the Land Cruiser Se concept car, FT-3e and FT-Se, the first electric models of the Land Cruiser series. As a luxury brand, Lexus unveiled Lexus LF-ZC concept car, Lexus LF-ZL concept car, related models will be mass-produced in 2026, Lexus will be transformed into pure electric brand in 2035.
It can also be seen from Toyota's strategic swing for many years that Toyota has no clear and unified goal for new energy transformation. At the helm of Akio Toyoda, Toyota vigorously promoted hydrogen energy and hybrid, resulting in missed a good opportunity for electric development, and from the current point of view, although Toyota has announced that it will invest huge sums of money in the development of electric vehicles, but with little effect. In the past 2022, Toyota launched bZ4X (FAW Toyota/GAC Toyota) and bZ3 (FAW Toyota) electric vehicles in the Chinese market. In the first three quarters of 2023, the sales volume of bZ3 was 18674, while that of bZ4X was 12378.
On the whole, Toyota Motor, as the automobile company with the largest share in the world, is far more difficult to transform than Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Honda and other automobile companies. As the leader of Toyota Motor, he should also have great courage and energy to pull the company forward. And while Toyota's share of the gasoline-powered car market has fallen, it remains one of the world's most profitable car companies, so perhaps Toyota's transition path is up in the air. The status quo is that Toyota's management team led by Sato Hengzhi is still facing a decline in sales while pushing forward the transformation of electrification, and the future of Toyota will be answered by time.
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