The grandson of Toyota’s founder and current CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, announced that he will officially leave the company on April 1 of this year and be replaced by Lexus head Hiroshi Sato.
Toyota said that with the departure of Akio Toyoda, the company may have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and move in a new direction. Toyota is reportedly developing a new pure electric vehicle platform to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of its electric vehicles and to reduce production costs.
The decision is part of Toyota’s plan to begin mass production of electric vehicles, as the company expects consumer demand for electric vehicles to increase rapidly amid sharply rising oil prices. Toyota’s new strategy, which is designed to put the company in direct competition with electric vehicle industry leader Tesla, marks a major shift in the company’s electrification strategy, as does Toyota’s announcement of a major administrative reorganization of its management chain of command, the Asahi Shimbun noted.
The announcement had few details but caused a stir when it was made. Many executives praised Akio Toyoda’s dedication to his job and wished him well as he leaves in April, but the brand’s future remains uncertain.
In fact, Toyota’s first pure electric production model, the bZ4X, uses its TNGA modular ICE platform and has not developed a new set of pure electric vehicle architectures.
Previous sources said that Toyota initially intended to use the e-TNGA platform for other pure electric models, but now seems to have changed its mind because it would result in higher manufacturing costs for Toyota’s electric cars than Tesla.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Toyota internally believes that if it continues to use the e-TNGA platform, it won’t be able to generate significant profits from electric vehicles and compete with Tesla — so it has decided to design an electric vehicle-specific architecture from scratch.