Toyota Makes Woven by Toyota a Wholly Owned Subsidiary: Why Chairman Toyoda gave up his shares

2023.10.24

Toyota announced that Woven by Toyota, in which Chairman Toyoda had personally invested, would become a wholly owned subsidiary. What is the company's goal, and why did he part with his shares?

On September 27, Toyota Motor Corporation announced that Woven by Toyota (WbyT), the company behind Woven City and in-vehicle software development, will become a wholly owned subsidiary.

Toyota already owns 95% of WbyT shares and plans to buy out the remaining 5% by the end of October.

As it happens, that 5% stake is held by none other than Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda.

Why is Toyota making WbyT a wholly owned subsidiary? Why did he decide to part with his shares? And why did he personally own them in the first place?

Toyota Times sets out to answer the questions in the minds of many readers.

Why is Toyota making WbyT a wholly owned subsidiary?

Starting with Toyota’s reasons for making WbyT a wholly owned subsidiary, the recent press release states:
“[the two companies] intend to strengthen their relationship … to accelerate software implementation in social systems and vehicles.”

This move comes against the backdrop of an Arene* rollout starting in 2025.
*In-vehicle OS and platform for improving mobility software development and use

As that target grows closer, Toyota clarifies the specs of future Arene-equipped products, shifting development from the “preliminary” phase to implementation.

Toyota’s aim to speed up software integration in cars aligns neatly with WbyT’s dedication to customer-focused development. As such, Woven by Toyota shifted from pursuing independent development to handling projects outsourced by Toyota.

Put another way, WbyT will go from developing products autonomously, using its own funds and loans, to undertaking specific work from Toyota.

Such collaboration is already underway, leading the company to change its name in April from Woven Planet Holdings to Woven by Toyota. Its structure was also reinforced, including the arrival of new executives from Toyota.

In early September, Toyota announced that it would boost collaboration with WbyT and Denso, which have strengths in software implementation.

Hajime Kumabe was appointed CEO of WbyT, having forged outside partnerships during his time at Denso and J-QuAD DYNAMICS*.
*A developer of automated driving software, established in April 2019 as a joint venture by Toyota Group members Denso, Aisin, Advics, and JTEKT.

Meanwhile, Toyota established a new Software Development Center to consolidate its software-related business and development. The center welcomed Denso’s Chief Technology Officer, Yoshifumi Kato, as Executive Vice President.

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