Toyota to put EVs at heart of future strategy

The incoming president of global motor company Toyota has said he sees the future of the business founded on the move to electric vehicles.

Speaking at the press conference on the new management team structure he announced from April 1 2023, Koji Sato (pic) said inheritance and evolution will be watchwords for his tenure in the role.

He said he was inheriting a thriving business from his predecessor adding he believed “that Toyota has changed into a company that values the origins of car-making and can be called a true carmaker”.

“The evolution for which our new management team aims is to transform Toyota into a mobility company. We will do so under three car-making themes. They are Electrification, Intelligence, Diversification,” he added.

“First is electrification. Energy is what sustains our lives. Toyota must create cars with energy security in mind and contribute to achieving a carbon-neutral society.

“The energy situation varies around the world. We want to stay in tune with customers around the world and provide diverse options. That is why we will continue an omni-directional approach without wavering from our multi-pathway.

“In that multi-pathway, battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, are also an important option.

“Under [former president] Master Driver Toyoda, we have been preparing to create BEVs unique to Toyota and Lexus. Through these efforts, we have come to see the kind of BEVs we are aiming for.

“Now that the time is right, we will accelerate BEV development with a new approach.”

Sato added: “Specifically, we will develop next-generation BEVs for Lexus brand by 2026, with everything from the battery and platform to how a car is built optimized for BEVs, while expanding our current BEV line-up.”

He added intelligence would be key to the future shape of car manufacture.

“With more interactive cars, we will make them safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. I believe that there is vehicle intelligence that only a carmaker can achieve,” Sato explained. “A vast amount of information flows through a car, including driver operation and tire condition. With such, there is a wealth of information that only a carmaker can put to use.

“By listening to what cars have to say, and by controlling information to a higher, more integrated degree, we can increase the value of cars in a way that is tailored to each customer, such as by improving fuel efficiency, optimising ride quality, and supporting safe driving.”

Sato said Toyota needs to diversify.

“Toyota operates all over the world. Customers’ diverse needs and values vary by region and generation. That is why we need diverse options in terms of both products and services.”

As a global company with full line ups, we will advance car-making that is in tune with regions and meets diverse needs.

Sato said to achieve these aims the first in reforming the business will be its next-generation BEVs.

“To deliver attractive BEVs to more customers, we must streamline the structure of the car, and―with a BEV-first mindset―we must drastically change the way we do business, from manufacturing to sales and service. Lexus will lead this transformation,” he added.