Upon forming a partnership with Mazda, when I visited Hiroshima, I was guided to a test course instead of the president's office.
The passionate talks about making cars are still etched in my memory, including the chats we had when we rode in each other’s companies’ cars under the theme of "Jinba ittai (unity of horse and rider)."
It was a moment when I understood that Mazda is a company with love and passion for cars, one that has been seriously focused on the joy of driving and has continued to think about how to establish a happy relationship with cars, but one with people at the center.
Last year, I was honored to be asked to be a driver at the 30th Media Roadster 4 Hours Endurance Race.
The venue was filled with smiles from spectators and participants who loved the Roadster and enjoyed cars. The race is one where Mazda lends cars to participants, which they use to compete, but the drivers and mechanics who are the last to participate in the race polish their cars with feelings of deep gratitude.
It is a place where it seems as though everyone is constantly smiling, expressing gratitude to each other.
It's really amazing that such a culture has continued for 30 years. It was truly an honor to have been part of an event that has built this culture over time.
“Be a driver.”
This phrase, used at the venue, means that building cars centered on people, and holding an activity rooted in a deep “love for cars,” means that you should never make a car boring.
I was delighted that we formed a partnership with Mazda. This was like gaining an enthusiast “friend” who absolutely loves cars. As companies, both Mazda and Toyota share a common desire to seriously pursue mobility with ”love,” and to build a future mobility society that can make human life even more enriched and more enjoyable. The fact that we have a relationship that allows us to share these feelings has made Mazda an invaluable “friend”.
There is no doubt that the people in its hometown of Hiroshima will join the festivities and proudly celebrate Mazda's 100 years milestone. Mazda was one of the first to resume production in Hiroshima, making auto-tricycles, only four months after the atomic bomb was dropped. Their quick action helped contribute greatly to the region’s recovery. With great persistence, Hiroshima has rebuilt itself from scratch.
Mazda worked arduously to rebuild its hometown. It is a partnership. When Hiroshima suffers, Mazda becomes the light, and when Mazda suffers, Hiroshima supports Mazda. The two companies, who have survived day by day alongside each other, are now invaluable “friends.”
In my opinion, the relationship is based on mutual gratitude and respect.
In this once-in-a-century transformational period, cars do not exist on their own, but only insomuch as they are connected to society. Since we are in such an era, I believe it is very important that the hometown and the company have a relationship that fosters gratitude toward each other.
I sincerely hope that Mazda and Hiroshima will continue to have a relationship that allows them to say "thank you" to each other for the next 100 years.