BY HITOKI NAKAGAWA STAFF WRITER
Akio Toyoda (Kazuhiro Nagashima)
Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda announced Wednesday a global strategy that marks a complete departure from its earlier furious drive to become the world’s largest automaker.
Toyoda emphasized the automaker would be “concerned more about customer smiles than numerical targets.”
He said the company aims to sell 9 million units around the globe, a target smaller than the previous goal set in the early 2000s to sell 10 million vehicles and overtake General Motors Co. as the world’s No. 1.
The automaker, which has 300,000 employees around the world, plans to change from being a Japan-centered corporation, he said, noting that the new vision statement “was written in English, a global language.”
Reaching the ultimate goals of “making quality vehicles” and “contributing to local communities,” where Toyota builds and sells cars, will enable the company to forge a strong base for sustainable profits, Toyoda said.
Development functions will be spread across various regions, he said. For example, research and development for the Camry sedan and other vehicles will be based in the United States, where those models are the most popular, and the small-car planning division in Europe will also be strengthened.
He said the company will produce cars suited to local needs.
Such measures come after last year’s recall scandal in the United States. At that time, Toyota was accused of putting priority on sales targets instead of safety and quality control.
Its process to recall vehicles in overseas markets was also criticized as being too dependent on decisions made at the automaker’s headquarters in Japan.
Toyoda took the reins of the company in 2009, the year after the automaker posted its first operational loss in 70 years amid the global financial crisis.