Sixty Minutes Packed with Topics! Chairman Toyoda Comments on Toyota News


It has been two and a half months since the last Voice-Only broadcast. Chairman Akio Toyoda chats about Toyota News and the intention behind his words and actions since then.

Chairman Akio Toyoda and Yuta Tomikawa present “Voice-Only Toyota Times News.”

This second episode was recorded in the Tohoku region. Chairman Toyoda discusses the various happenings in the past two and a half months and his thoughts on Tohoku.

The first topic is the Prius recall that was announced on April 17. Chairman Toyoda says, “Safety is top priority.” He explains his journey in the 14 years since 2010, dealing thoroughly with in-house recalls.

This recording was made in Tohoku, between work at the Lexus LBX kick-off party at the Toyota Motor East Japan Iwate Plant in Kanegasaki Town, Iwate Prefecture, and the Super Taikyu Series opening day at Sportsland SUGO in Murata Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

The chairman also speaks movingly about the team dispatched to help with recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In addition, he comments on Toyota’s unique approach to recovery support and the story behind the declaration to hold a Rally Japan in Tohoku.

The show continues with a wide range of topics, including thoughts on the announcement of the Super Taikyu Mirai Organization, which was held on the same day as the recording. Another hot topic was the Nürburgring in Germany, the place of origin for driver Morizo and the thrilling sight waiting for him there when he visited for the first time in five years. Also, how the Nürburgring inspired carmaking at the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama.

In the latter half of the program, Kyonosuke Morita joins the duo to discuss the new Toyota Times Sports website. However, he has barely begun when he gets some production notes from a more experienced radio personality about his presentation style.

It’s a packed sixty minutes of everything Chairman Toyoda wants to convey now and an enjoyable way to get caught up on everything going on at Toyota that isn’t being reported anywhere else, in a Voice-Only Toyota News style.

Toyota Times shares the transcript of their conversation.


Yuta Tomikawa
I’m Yuta Tomikawa for Toyota Times News. This is the second broadcast of our Voice-Only Toyota Times News.

Once again, we bring this episode to you together with Morizo. Thank you for joining us, Morizo.

Chairman Akio Toyoda

This time, we are in the Tohoku region and I’ll be asking Morizo about why we are here, the reason he visits every year, and what it means to him later on.

Prius recall

The first thing I would like to ask you about is the Prius recall issue.

Just recently, Toyota Motor Corporation reported a recall of 135,305 Prius units to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Toyota also issued a press release regarding the defect, stating that the switch that opens the rear seat door handle is inadequately waterproof and that if a large amount of water is splashed on it, such as in a carwash, it could get inside the switch, causing the door to open in the worst-case scenario.

Many customers seem concerned about this news. How do you feel about this matter, Akio?

First, since I became president of Toyota, I have attended public hearings on quality issues.

Since then, one thing we haven’t changed in terms of how we think is that we are not a company that can produce perfect products. When we discover a mistake, our stance is to stop what we are doing, fix it properly, and then report it immediately. That is exactly what we have done this time around.

Regarding the rear door handle that was just referred to, the door potentially not opening or opening suddenly is very dangerous.

I am sure users will be very concerned. So, we decided to first make it so it wouldn’t open.

But, if you have 4 doors, you will want to open them.

The part is electronic. Normally with door handles, there is a knob or something on the side of the body.

But the Prius does not have that. It’s built into the design of the window edge.

In the past, the door was opened by pulling it with wires, but now it is done electronically. So, when it rains or it goes through the carwash and water accumulates, the water gets inside, causing the electrics to fail, which stops the door from opening.

We’re currently investigating the cause and trying to find countermeasures, but it appears that will take a little bit of time. We’re still trying to figure out the details.

I think users will be concerned about what might happen if the rear door suddenly opens when they have precious family members or important people sitting in the rear seat. That’s why we decided to first prevent the rear door from opening.

Therefore, for the time being, we will be causing some inconvenience in terms of usability. However, we would like to ask for your understanding that ensuring your safety comes first and foremost, both for users and for us as manufacturers.

I also got everyone at the company to promise after the public hearings that hiding a recall is the worst thing possible. I am very adamant about this.

However, in a company that doesn’t have strong leaders, as a recall is subject to considerable criticism from the public, they will inevitably think about postponing the timing.

I would like everyone to understand that this company has been working hard for the past 14 years to prevent that from happening.

I hate to say this at this time, but in the case of a car, it is called a recall, but in the case of a smartphone, it is called an update.

That’s true. You get notifications telling you to update.

When you hear “update,” doesn’t it sound like an improvement? But when you hear “recall,” it has a negative image.

The previous wrongdoing was regarding testing for whether we could mass produce a particular vehicle in terms of environmental and safety aspects.

In mass production, the most important thing is to make sure that environmental rules are followed and that safety is given top priority above all else.

If you see something occur that is different from what you expected at that point, then you must stop it immediately.

You can’t say that something is okay because a major accident hasn’t occurred yet. It’s already too late if a serious accident occurs. That is why we announced the Prius recall at this time.

For current users, we will first make it so the door cannot open. Countermeasures will be created to ensure it does not remain in that inconvenient state and once the product is ready, we will move on it immediately.

However, as there are a large number of these vehicles, with the understanding of both dealerships and customers, we are getting things ready with the shortest lead time possible to ensure life with your car is more comfortable than ever. We would appreciate customers’ understanding.

We sincerely apologize for causing concern over this matter.

As this is an important matter, I would like to reiterate the improvements that are to be implemented. We will be exchanging the switch that opens the rear door latches of all subject vehicles with countermeasure parts.

Until the countermeasures are ready, the fuse will temporarily be removed so that the opening switch is deactivated, and the door opening will be limited to manual operation.

The recall applies to certain Prius models manufactured between 2022 and 2024. Our website allows you to search for the subject vehicles, so please enter “Information search on vehicles subject to recall in the search box to confirm the information.