Toyota Times News

Akio's Admiration for Mr. Prius, the Man Who Created Something from Nothing


Takeshi Uchiyamada, aka "Mr. Prius," is set to step down as chairman. Did the man who always stood by Akio's side also have some harsh words for the president? A recap of the live broadcast.

The foundation has been laid

Scene V: A reporter joining remotely asks, “When did you share your decision to step down?”


I discussed my resignation with the president when I saw myself nearing 75.

I think our team is doing extremely well. But I wondered if we could really become a mobility company and achieve carbon neutrality in this period of transformation if we kept on going in that same way year after year.

Reaching the physical age of 75 was a big factor. That led to a series of discussions with the president.


When exactly was it? I guess last year.


The stage was set, and the foundations were laid.


It took about 13 years, but I think the foundation for passing on the baton has been laid.

In my first few years as president, the company’s very existence was threatened as we fell into the red after the global financial crisis, our recall crisis, and the Great East Japan Earthquake.

During that time, our break-even volume was also very high, and we had to change our structure. We survived that period one day at a time. Yet I think these times of crisis gave meaning to my presidency.

As a result, I believe that we now have far more people who can think about the business in terms of “best-in-town,” “making ever-better cars,” and working “for someone other than yourself.”

The ideas they come up with now have these concepts as their unwavering core. I think this is the result of the product-centered and region-centered management that Chairman Uchiyamada and I have been pursuing for many years.

Above all, I think our greatest contributions were the introduction of TNGA* and Toyota’s in-house company system.
Toyota New Global Architecture: structural reform aimed at creating ever-better cars by redesigning platforms and powertrains to drastically improve basic performance and product appeal.

Before we had the in-house company system, under the “Global Master Plan,” priority was given to projects that increased profits and volume.

However, Toyota is a global company with a full lineup, and I think the in-house company system has ensured that, for every type of car, we have people for whom that vehicle is the top priority.

And regarding our system of regions, when I attended the hearings in the U.S., it took about three months for local information to reach company headquarters. Now I think regional information comes in more quickly.

A respected figure who offers understanding

Scene VI: Tomikawa asks Akio to share his message for Chairman Uchiyamada.


Before I became president, Mr. Uchiyamada also preceded me as executive vice president. During my time as president, he also supported me as executive vice president in charge of technology and as chairman.

As I mentioned earlier, he was like an older brother kindly supporting his wayward sibling. He was also the greatest supporter of our efforts to make ever-better cars.

Mr. Prius, Chairman Uchiyamada, was a great engineer who took on the challenge of shaping the future through cars. For me personally, he always offered the utmost understanding and unbiased advice. He is someone I respect in life.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude again. Thank you very much.

Mr. Uchiyamada is a sailor, so I’m sure he will spend more time on his boat after retiring as chairman. I wish you safe travels.