Hello Team Toyota!
And hello Team Lexus!
Of course, we're one big happy family. Right?
It's really nice to be back in Plano, but honestly, I'm happy to be anywhere in the world. Where people have the Toyota logo on their shirts, and the Toyota Way in their hearts!
How about that? And a special shout out to those of you not here with us, but watching online. They say the camera puts on ten pounds. I hope that's not the case!
I'm here in Texas, partly because I'm on my way to Detroit for the International Auto Show, and partly because I can't pass up a friendly audience! Seeing you guys always gives me an energy fix! You're like human red bull. And I hope in some small way to energize all of you in return.
Speaking of Detroit, on Monday I'm going to reveal the newest generation of a car, that's been near and dear to my heart for a very long time. A car I'm happy to say is finally making its long-awaited return. Do you know which one I'm talking about? That's right the new Toyota Supra is back! This was the car that I trained to become a master driver with, and I'm really excited to reveal it to the journalists in Detroit, three days from now. Unfortunately, it's top secret until then, and the PR team said I can't show it to you. But hey, I'm the boss so too bad I'm going to show it to you anyway!
What you're about to see is kind of my personal Supra story, but in all seriousness this is extremely confidential. So no photos or anything, there`s been enough leaks already. Please don't get me in trouble ok? Okay.
(Roll SUPRA VIDEO)
I mean is that car totally LIT, or what? My son tells me, that means amazing or super excellent! How about a round of applause, for everyone who worked on the Supra?
Now, normally I don't get into revealing cars at my new year's address, but I think it's good for all of us to take a moment, to enjoy and appreciate what we're creating together. Not for nothing, but we're making some pretty awesome cars these days, that we can all be proud of! Don't you agree?
This industry of ours is certainly challenging, and changing quickly as we all know. Just keeping up, let alone staying ahead of the game will take all of our focus.
We will continue to be good corporate citizens. Not just because we should, but because that's what we've always been. The investments we make, here in the U.S and around the globe, are not made because they are politically correct, but simply because they support our customers, our employees and because they make business sense. And, as you know, I am constantly looking for ways to support our growth, not just today, but well into the future. This is why we are focusing on four particular areas:
Connected, Autonomous, Sharing and Electric. (CASE)
To support our efforts, in just this year alone, we made investments in partnerships with companies such as SoftBank, Uber, Grab, Suzuki, Amazon, Avis, Docomo, Shell and Mazda just to name a few.
We're pursuing our own mobility services in various places around the world. Such as the Hui car sharing service that recently launched in Hawaii, as well as our new investment in Grab in Asia Pacific. Thanks to our Toyota Connected mobility service platform, a customer will be able to reserve, pay for, and unlock a vehicle all with their smartphone.
On the autonomy front, TRI continues to make progress with its chauffeur and guardian development making the partnership between the driver and the vehicle even more seamless.
Further adding to our capabilities in the future, we recently broke ground on our new plant in Huntsville, Alabama in partnership with Mazda. This plant will produce about 300,000 vehicles, for both the U.S. and for export. We also will expand our production capabilities in Europe, with a majority stake in the Peugeot Citroen plant in the Czech Republic in 2021.
I'm also happy to say, that our hydrogen technology continues to be embraced more and more around the world. We now have 100 Mirais in the fleet of a taxi service in Paris, called HYPE, which exclusively operates hydrogen-only vehicles. And this spring, our Fuel Cell buses will be deployed in Portugal. We're also sponsoring the first hydrogen vessel to sail around the world from France, the Energy Observer, which will produce carbon hydrogen out of sea water.
Pursuing emission free technologies and reducing greenhouse gas is a huge priority for us, as it should be for everyone, especially given the number of natural disasters we had around the world last year. We began our efforts to help the environment many years ago with hybrid technology, but we need to work harder to aggressively promote and develop emission free technology. It's important that we think about the planet as a whole.
At the same time, we need to make sure our electric and fuel cell powertrains are also fun to drive, and I'm confident we can do it. That's one of the reasons we participate in the Le Mans series with our hybrid race car, which we won in 2018! It took us awhile, but we can now say we are Le Mans champions! So, congratulations to the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team, for showing us that hybrid technology can be responsible, and fun to drive!
Actually, our Gazoo team was on a roll in 2018, because we also won the World Rally Championship or WRC, after just two years of participating with our Toyota Yaris. The legendary WRC champion, Tommi Makinen, joined us to lead our team, after wisely defecting from Mitusbishi. Thankfully, Tommi only bleeds Toyota red now!
Here's some highlights of the season.
(ROLL WRC VIDEO / Reveal Yaris)
I love the sound, of a 16 valve 1.6 liter inline four-cylinder engine in the morning. Don't you?
Now, I know Bob Carter is feeling a little depressed right now. Aren't you Bob? Because, our Camry lost the Nascar Championship in 2018 by like this much. But don't worry Bob, you'll get ‘em this year!
Speaking of winners, I want to take a moment to honor some of our best and brightest, with this year's president's awards. This year we decided to focus on one region, and since I'm here in Texas, it made sense to make that region North America.
Here's a brief look at this year's winners.
(AWARDS VIDEO ROLLS)
Jim, could you join me?
Ladies and Gentlemen, could you please come to the stage to receive your awards.
How about a round of applause, for our President's Award Winners?
It's really hard to single out just a few people to be recognized, because so many of you have contributed so much, to growing Toyota and Lexus into what we are today.
In fact, it's really because of your effort and your hard work that our founder, my grandfather Kiichiro Toyoda, was recently inducted into the American Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit. Unfortunately, my grandfather died before I was born, so I never met him, but I know this is an honor that he never expected to receive, back when he began the company in 1936.
Although I could not attend the awards ceremony, I decided to send this video instead.
(ROLL KIICHIRO VIDEO)
I work for Toyota!
I know what you're going to say. Don't quit your day job! But, it was fun to pretend to be him. My grandfather was actually an engineer, who helped develop our first engine, but in the beginning a lot of people thought he was crazy. But, the fact that he never gave up, and never stopped dreaming is why all of us are here today.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank all of you around the globe for all your hard work this past year, for your determination, your enthusiasm, and yes your patience.
Last year, I encouraged you to find ways to be nimble, to be creative, and embrace your Jedi rebel spirit. I hope you've done so.
Last month, we made some organizational changes which were announced in Japan. Although they primarily affect the management structure in Japan, the spirit of this change will deployed everywhere. Put simply, I want promotions and financial reward for everyone at Toyota, to be based on merit and achievement, not on age or job title or pre-determined metrics. In turn, I want all of you to continue to focus on improving your communication with each other, so we can have faster decision making and faster results. Not making a decision, just because there are no previous examples to go by, is not acceptable to me.
Even if it's the wrong decision, just make one! We need to always be learning, improving and moving forward.
Be the best in your job, but learn what others do in their job as well. The more knowledgeable about everything, at Toyota, you are the better. You will do and the better we will all be. Imagine that each and every one of you, is training to replace me as CEO of this company. Imagine that I'm like Willy Wonka, and one of you holds the golden ticket. Because, one of you out there, is going to have to take over the chocolate factory one day.
But seriously, I challenge you because I believe in you. Because I want so very much for this company to keep growing, and thriving, and for all of us to benefit together.
This past winter, as I watched the Winter Olympics, I thought this is such a great example of personal excellence combined with the power of being part of a team. It's one of the reasons we became a sponsor of the Olympics.
What each of you does matters, and what we do as a team matters too. So, let's really listen to each other, appreciate each other, and support each other. It may not always be easy, but the one thing we can count on, is each other.
In a world that grows increasingly chaotic and divided, let's stand together, united by the Toyota values we believe in. And as global citizens, let's all do our part to help make our planet a happier, kinder, better place. Let us lead by example, with integrity, humility, and respect for others.
Because the Toyota Way Is more than just words. It's a guiding light. A reflection of who we are as a company. And it's our duty to shine that light everywhere we can. So, let's inspire the world with our actions, with our hearts, and with our imagination.
Together, we can do it. Because together, we are Toyota.
Thank you all very much.