Toyota’s annual General Shareholders’ Meeting in Tokyo focused on the company’s electrification strategy, with particular attention given to its new BEV division, BEV Factory. This division aims to integrate all BEV development, production, and business processes to facilitate faster decision-making and execution.
The president of BEV Factory, Takero Kato, addressed questions from shareholders regarding Toyota’s ability to compete with Tesla, a company often seen as a leader in the BEV market. While Toyota’s Executive Vice President and chief scientist reiterated the company’s commitment to diverse powertrain solutions, Kato provided a more detailed response.
Future of cars
Kato expressed his enthusiasm for BEVs and desire to change the future of cars, manufacturing processes (monozukuri), and work culture. He emphasized Toyota’s goal to achieve a similar cruising range to its popular hybrid vehicles, aiming for up to 900 miles by 2028, although acknowledging that it is a significant challenge.
Furthermore, Kato mentioned plans to make significant changes in production, including restructuring the vehicle’s design and halving the length of production lines. The aim is to reduce physically strenuous work, support Japanese manufacturing traditions, and create a happier workplace, especially considering Japan’s ageing population.
Kato highlighted the importance of speed in the operations of the BEV Factory unit, emphasizing that the team brings together various company functions, not just development, and holds daily discussions to address the concerns of the factory floor. Additionally, collaboration with new partners is expected to generate innovative ideas.
Toyota’s chair, Akio Toyoda, who has not been a strong advocate for BEVs in the past, followed up on Kato’s remarks by expressing the belief that cars made by engineers who love them have the power to move people’s hearts. Toyoda invited shareholders to look forward to the BEVs that Toyota will create.
In conclusion, Toyota’s annual General Shareholders’ Meeting highlighted the company’s focus on its electrification strategy, particularly its new BEV division, BEV Factory. The division aims to streamline BEV development, production, and business processes for faster decision-making and execution. Despite previous criticism of Toyota’s lag in the BEV market compared to Tesla, the company’s executives and BEV Factory president expressed enthusiasm and ambition for the future of BEVs.
Toyota plans to introduce its next-generation BEVs to the market in 2026, with a target of selling 1.7 million BEVs out of a total of 3.5 million by 2030. The company aims to achieve a cruising range comparable to its popular hybrid vehicles. It plans to make significant changes in production, including restructuring vehicle design and reducing physical strain in the manufacturing process. Collaboration with new partners and a focus on speed in operations are also key aspects of Toyota’s strategy.
While Toyota’s former CEO and current chair, Akio Toyoda, has not been a vocal proponent of BEVs in the past, he acknowledged the importance of creating cars that move people’s hearts and invited shareholders to anticipate the BEVs that Toyota will develop.
The General Shareholders’ Meeting demonstrated Toyota’s commitment to BEVs and its determination to compete in the rapidly evolving market, showcasing its plans for innovation, improved manufacturing processes, and a strong focus on meeting the expectations of customers and shareholders alike.
Here are the key takeaways
- Toyota is serious about its BEV plans and is willing to make significant changes to compete with Tesla.
- The new BEV Factory unit will integrate all BEV development, production, and business processes to ” enable speedier decision-making and execution.”
- The next-generation BEVs will first reach the market in 2026 and are expected to make up 1.7 million of the 3.5 million BEVs Toyota plans to sell in 2030.
- Takero Kato, Toyota’s BEV Factory president, said he loves BEVs and wants to change the future of cars, monozukuri, and work through them.
- The company aims at the same cruising range as its hybrid vehicles, up to 900 miles by 2028.
- Toyota will significantly change production and the number of parts required to make a vehicle.
- The former CEO and current chair Akio Toyoda followed Kato’s response by saying that “cars made by engineers who love them will move people’s hearts.”