In a Country Where Half of Cars are Toyotas, Akio is Prepared to Lose Market Share


"As crazy as it may sound..." This is how Chairman Akio Toyoda prefaced his remarks at Toyota Philippines' 35th anniversary ceremony. With Toyotas making up 50% of the country's new car sales, what exactly did he mean?

On August 22, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), which manufactures and sells Toyota vehicles in the country, held a ceremony in the capital, Manila, to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Some 600 people were in attendance, including First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos and Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa, as well as representatives from the national government, local suppliers, and dealers. Among those taking part from Toyota were Chairman Akio Toyoda and TMP Chairman Alfred Ty, who expressed their gratitude to stakeholders and a commitment to the future.

Starting third from left: Kazuhiko Koshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines; First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos; Chairman Akio Toyoda; and TMP Chairman Alfred Ty.

In 2022, Toyota’s share of new cars sold in the Philippines reached 50%, with 174,000 vehicles. This puts the country among Toyota’s top ten markets globally.

At the anniversary event, Akio commented on the situation, prefacing his words with “as crazy as it may sound...” before continuing: “I wouldn't even care if Toyota's share of the market here decreased.”

What was the real intent behind these words? We unpack Chairman Toyoda’s speech for insight into the decision he made 20 years earlier, and a conviction that remains unchanged to this day.

The Philippines’ importance to Toyota

Chairman Toyoda’s speech

Hello! Kumusta! (Tagalog for “How are you?”)

It is so wonderful to be back here again!

As soon as I got here, I went straight to my favorite place Jollibee (a popular Philippine fast-food chain)! I mean, where else but here, can you get fried chicken and spaghetti in the same place?!

But seriously, it really is an honor to be here, and I want to thank all of you for joining us.

Earlier today, I had the great pleasure of taking His Excellency President Marcos on a tour of our plant in Santa Rosa.

President Marcos tours the plant with Chairman Toyoda and Chairman Ty.

We, at Toyota, are extremely grateful for the support, wisdom, and guidance that we receive from President Marcos, and I know this great country is in the best possible hands with his leadership. So, we offer him our deepest thanks for making this 35th anniversary of ours possible.

I must tell you how very important the Philippines is to us at Toyota because even though it may not be the biggest country, your sales volume is actually Toyota's 10th highest in the entire world.

In fact, Toyota seems to be as popular here as basketball and BTS!

I'd like to congratulate Chairman Ty and the entire team for the record-breaking year Toyota Philippines is currently having and, of course, for the tremendous progress you've made over the last 35 years. Thank you, Alfred.

TMP was founded in 1988 by the current chairman’s father, former Chairman George Ty, and Akio’s father, Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda.

In the Philippines, this was a time of political and economic instability, and the company was born out of a shared desire to contribute to the development of society through automobiles.

Starting with just 20 people, over the next 35 years, this fledgling enterprise grew into a company of 4,000 employees. Today, TMP produces the Innova three-row minivan and Vios compact sedan.

To August 2023, the company had manufactured a total of 1.04 million vehicles and sold 2.276 million cars in the Philippines.