Toyota announced its vision for the Group's future direction: "Inventing our path forward, together." As the person responsible for guiding the Group, here is the message delivered by Chairman Akio Toyoda, along with questions from the press.
On January 30, Chairman Akio Toyoda held a press conference at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Nishi-ku, Nagoya) to unveil his vision for the Toyota Group’s future direction: “Inventing our path forward, together.” He also set forth five attitudes to be embraced by Toyota employees.
Toyota Times brings you the full text of Chairman Toyoda’s message, with which he began the press conference as the person responsible for the entire Group.
*See the press release for more details about the vision’s formulation
Full text of Chairman Toyoda’s message
Thank you for taking the time to come here today.
Earlier today at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, together with the chairmen, presidents, and frontline leaders of Toyota Group companies, I shared the Group’s new "Vision" and "Attitudes" to outline the direction in which the Toyota Group should proceed.
I’d like to start by talking a little bit about the history of the Toyota Group.
This diagram shows the Toyota Group’s lineage, starting with the establishment of Toyoda Shoten in 1895.
Sakichi Toyoda wanted to help his mother, who struggled with weaving. With this single-minded determination, he invented the Toyoda wooden hand loom in 1890.
Thinking of others, learning, honing skills, making things, and bringing smiles to people’s faces—I believe that this passion and attitude toward invention is truly the starting point of the Toyota Group.
Following this was the establishment of Toyoda Boshoku and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. As you can see, our lineage diagram extends vertically.
Kiichiro Toyoda started to get actively involved in the business in the 1930s. At that time, the technological standards of Japanese industry were lagging far behind the West.
“It is not just about making automobiles. With Japanese ideas and skills, we must create an automobile industry for Japan.” With this single-minded resolve, Kiichiro set out to completely revolutionize Japanese industry.
Many companies in the parts, steel, rubber, and electronics industries started following in Toyota’s footsteps.
The Toyota Group’s lineage also extended horizontally, as we formed alliances with companies that have their own unique aspects and strengths.
Our vertical lineage continues to evolve through our unwavering commitment to paving the way for the future. And our horizontal lineage continues to evolve together with our like-minded partners.
You could say we have been living in an automobile industry that has been woven together by the vertical and horizontal threads spun by our predecessors.
However, as the automobile industry developed and Toyota Group companies started to experience success, they lost sight of the values and priorities that should have been upheld. I am ashamed to admit that this is the case.
The first company to face such a situation was Toyota Motor Corporation itself.
We pursued expansion of scale, prioritizing volume and profitability over the making of ever-better cars, and ultimately fell into the red for the first time in company history during the 2008 financial crisis.
As a result, we caused inconvenience to many people who supported the automobile industry.
Furthermore, due to global recalls, we lost the trust of our customers which is of the utmost importance to us.
I consider Toyota to have collapsed at that point.
With every ounce of myself and the help of our partners, we have finally rebuilt the company to the point where it can be called a carmaker again.
But it was not only Toyota that lost sight of its founding principles. I believe the same thing that happened to Toyota back then is currently happening to other Group companies.
During the recalls in 2009, as the person responsible for Toyota, I made the decision to take full responsibility for our past, present, and future.
14 years have passed since then, and I still believe that I am responsible for the entire Toyota Group.
What I must do right now is show the direction that the Group should proceed and create a place for the next generation to return to if they falter.
In other words, what I must do is set forth a vision for the Group.
The starting point of the Toyota Group is to make ever-better things that make many people happy; in other words, to invent.
“Inventing our path forward, together”
Under this vision, we should all embrace the spirit of invention within us, think of others, hone our skills, and continue to make the right things.
In doing so, we will build a culture of mutual gratitude, and ensure we are needed in the future.
This is the pledge we made today at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which can be considered our starting point.
As the person responsible for the Toyota Group, I will lead the transformation, and hope that I can count on your continued support.
In closing, I would like to express my deepest apologies to our customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and concern caused by the successive irregularities at Hino Motors, Daihatsu, and Toyota Industries.
Initially, the Group vision was to be shared on February 14, the birthday of Sakichi Toyoda.
However, considering the recent situation of our Group companies, we have decided to bring the date forward and make an announcement to the media as well.
Today, I would like to answer your questions about our Group vision.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.