Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda Gets It

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https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a20729227/toyota-ceo-akio-toyoda-gets-it/
His company is working towards a self-driving future. But he hasn't lost sight of what makes so many people love cars.

Britain's Autocar magazine awarded Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda with its highest honor, the Issigonis Trophy, named for Alec Issigonis, creator of the original Mini. To accept the award, Toyoda made a speech in front of the Mini he drove when he lived in London in the 1980s. In his brief speech, Toyoda talks about his company's commitment to self-driving cars, while reminding us why he's one of the coolest leaders in the auto industry today.

"For me, this is the kind of car we should all dream of making," Toyoda said of his Mini. "Affordable, simple and as fun to drive as a go-kart. Even if in the future people go to work in autonomous pods, as industry leaders it is also our job to keep making cars like this."

Like all other CEOs of large automakers, Toyoda has to respond to the push towards autonomous cars, but it's encouraging that he's doing while remembering what makes enthusiasts love cars in the first place.

Toyoda has already put his money where his mouth is too. Toyota is bringing back the beloved Supra, and it's got a second-generation 86 in the works too. Its Gazoo Racing division is committed to the World Endurance and World Rally Championships, while it's also branching off into road cars like the hot Yaris GRMN. Plus, Toyoda has injected into Lexus with the gorgeous and great-to-drive LC500 flagship coupe.

I can't help but see parallels to Toyota in the 1960s. In the years following World War II, Toyota, like all other Japanese automakers, had a simple mission—mobilize Japan's people and its economy. Toyota worked towards that goal with plenty of utilitarian cars, but it also decided to build a world-class sports car, the 2000GT. A car born out of a love for technological innovation and the automobile itself.

Toyoda, a keen driver and big motorsports fan himself, hasn't lost sight of that love, even as mobility is once again a chief concern. As we head towards an uncertain automotive future, where human driving could take on a diminished role, we as enthusiasts should be grateful we have people like Toyoda leading the way.
 

RAL

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From what I know, Akio Toyoda is obviously a great man. And from what I have read, not unlike his grandfather. I understand in Japan, honor is everything. What strikes me most about this man is his honorable humility. Might I be permitted to say, to me it is altogether fitting that he be 'honored' with this prestigious award.
 

F1 Silver Arrows

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Might I be permitted to comment: From what I know, Akio Toyoda is obviously a great man. And from what I have read, not unlike his grandfather. I understand in Japan, honor is everything. What strikes me most about this man is his honorable humility. Might I be permitted to say, to me it is altogether fitting that he be 'honored' with this prestigious award.
He, among a couple of other high-class CEO's like Stephan Winkelmann, Stefano Domenicali, Dieter Zetsche, and Andy Palmer are people with honor, who carry the huge burden of carrying their companies to stratospheric heights, to wave the flags of their companies with pride, love and a strong will, similarly to what you said. These guys have genuine passion and that immense drive to strive for perfection, while also being as humble as ever, like you mentioned.

These men, are the future of our automotive industry. Each and every single one of them I have so much respect for, because these are people who are revolutionizing the automotive industry like no other. I love them ever so deeply and are huge role models for me, a huge inspiration in terms of being a great leader and much more. These men deserve our thanks, and are so honorable in every way. These men are huge reasons as to why I love cars. These men are the reason why we have a booming automotive industry today. Believe me, without these guys, the car culture we know today wouldn't have been close to being interesting whatsoever.
 
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mmcartalk

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its highest honor, the Issigonis Trophy, named for Alec Issigonis, creator of the original Mini.
The correct title is Sir Alec Issigonis. He was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth.


Although I agree that, if they perfect the technology, self-driving cars might be ideal for aged or disabled people who can no longer drive themselves, I'm not a terribly big fan of the idea in general, on a mass scale. Nor am I convinced (at least as of now), that the technology is going to be perfected.....at least any time soon. The growing list of accidents and casualties in self-driving vehicles from companies like Google and Tesla seems to be proof of that.
 
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The growing list of accidents and casualties in self-driving vehicles from companies like Google and Tesla seems to be proof of that.
Google (to be technical, Waymo) has not caused any fatalities...Uber OTOH, has...Tesla just has a bunch of people buying their cars and not understanding how to drive their car properly :mad:
 

mmcartalk

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Google (to be technical, Waymo) has not caused any fatalities...Uber OTOH, has...
As I understand it, the Uber crash in Arizona that killed a pedestrian was with a Waymo/Google self-driving vehicle.

Tesla just has a bunch of people buying their cars and not understanding how to drive their car properly :mad:
Supposedly, the whole idea behind these vehicles is that people don't have to drive them. That's the part where there seems to be trouble. Like it or not, the technology is still a long way from anywhere near perfection.
 

Levi

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The reason I am opposed to autonomous vehicles is not because of the cars themselves, but because of the state of the world in which these cars will operate.
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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As I understand it, the Uber crash in Arizona that killed a pedestrian was with a Waymo/Google self-driving vehicle.
Nope. Uber and Waymo/Google are rivals in the race to create autonomous vehicles, and each use different systems. Waymo/Google is among the leaders (if not the leader) in testing this technology. Uber, by contrast, is a laggard Johnny-come-lately, as noted in a New York Times via Jalopnik article.
 

Ian Schmidt

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Tesla just has a bunch of people buying their cars and not understanding how to drive their car properly :mad:
There's actually some very preliminary data suggesting Teslas catch fire in a crash at a higher rate than ICE cars or other EVs. I suspect this is one of the reasons Toyota is trying to get to a more stable battery chemistry.
 

spwolf

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There's actually some very preliminary data suggesting Teslas catch fire in a crash at a higher rate than ICE cars or other EVs. I suspect this is one of the reasons Toyota is trying to get to a more stable battery chemistry.
when Toyota and Tesla did Rav4 EV, there were few articles about tech behind it... for instance Toyota produced them at their own plant due to better quality control - now we understand why, and they also modified Tesla battery pack design by adding a much thicker metal plate to protect battery pack.

In fact only few months later there was a crash where Tesla Model S caught fire after road debris punctured battery pack and Tesla recalled Model S to install that same thicker plate.

So conclusion is that as then, even now, when it comes to car building, vs electronics/software, their quality of both manufacturing and engineering is way behind normal car company. Up until now they had easy going since they sold relatively small numbers to enthusiastic crowds, but now it is mass market product in hands of car owners that might not have two other cars in garage.
 

CIF

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when Toyota and Tesla did Rav4 EV, there were few articles about tech behind it... for instance Toyota produced them at their own plant due to better quality control - now we understand why, and they also modified Tesla battery pack design by adding a much thicker metal plate to protect battery pack.

In fact only few months later there was a crash where Tesla Model S caught fire after road debris punctured battery pack and Tesla recalled Model S to install that same thicker plate.

So conclusion is that as then, even now, when it comes to car building, vs electronics/software, their quality of both manufacturing and engineering is way behind normal car company. Up until now they had easy going since they sold relatively small numbers to enthusiastic crowds, but now it is mass market product in hands of car owners that might not have two other cars in garage.
This is one reason why the Toyota and Tesla relationship fell apart. I've heard there were way too many culture clashes and differences of opinion on fundamental metrics like QDR.
 
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