World's second biggest automotive manufacturer's president says he feels a “sense of crisis” about its car-making process

Toyota president Akio Toyoda has said he feels a “strong sense of crisis” about the firm’s car making process after the Japanese company's profits fell last year.

The Toyota Motor Corporation’s net income fell to ¥1.83 trillion (£12.4 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March 2017, down from ¥2.3tn (£15.5bn) in the previous 12 months. It is the first time in five years that Toyota's profits have fallen.

Toyota actually sold more cars in the last fiscal year – 8,970,860, a rise of 289,532 from the previous period – and cited the strength of the Japanese yen as a major factor behind the fall in profits. Toyota warned it expected profits to drop to ¥1.5tn (£10.1bn) for the 2018 financial year as a result.

While citing the impact of currency markets on Toyota’s profits, Toyoda promised that the results would prompt the firm to “take a critical look at our true selves and strive to improve our competitiveness”.

Toyota was recently overtaken by the Volkswagen Group as the largest producer of cars in the world.

The firm has invested heavily in upgrading facilities around the world to accommodate the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) car platform. The platform is already used on cars including the Prius Plug-in and C-HR.

While Toyoda praised the firm’s drive to make more advanced cars, he questioned whether the firm’s car-making process focused enough on customers. He said: “Until now, there were times when Toyota’s cars were called ‘boring’ or were said to be lacking in character. But I now feel that, in terms of driving and design, our customers have begun to favourably evaluate our cars.

“On the other hand, when it comes to making ever-better cars in a smart way, it is becoming apparent that there is still room for improvement.

“I feel a strong sense of crisis about whether or not we are actually executing car-making from the perspective of the customer in all Toyota workplaces – from development, production, procurement and sales, all the way to administrative divisions.”

Toyoda said the firm’s focus on making better cars would start with compact models. Toyota recently made Daihatsu a wholly owned subsidiary and launched a compact car division for emerging markets.

“With these in-house companies competing and such with our in-house companies responsible for larger vehicles, the in-house companies will improve by learning from each other,” said Toyoda. “Through this, I want to make Toyota’s car-making simpler and more low-cost.”

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Comments
6

10 May 2017
There's a lot of car companies that struggle to make any kind of profit never mind the £12 billion reported by Toyota last year. Nevertheless the company is obviously concerned by the reduced margin - and the prospect of simpler and cheaper car making is surely a good thing. Maybe it should get rid of some of its stylists and start making its cars look attractive too.

10 May 2017
He said: “Until now, there were times when Toyota’s cars were called ‘boring’ or were said to be lacking in character. But I now feel that, in terms of driving and design, our customers have begun to favourably evaluate our cars." Really??? Exhibit A:Auris Charge:Dull Verdict: Guilty!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 May 2017
Years ago Toyota was up to date and had the edge in reliability for a reasonable price. But then they started making all cars the same and lost track of the reliability.
Vary the styling of the cars. Make them more reliable again.
We do not want one style from cheapest to most expensive.
Van_diesel

10 May 2017
the brand needs a decent design team with guidleines ,reliable soulless vehicles we have Yaris for my daughter a great little car but not changed much in 8 years.Will be swapped for a Mini as they said the new one is just a plain car looks like any other to her.

10 May 2017
Don't feel particularly special. A Hyundai / Kia gives you more for less in most cases. I remember being quite impressed when visiting s friend's Toyota dealership in 2005. Not sure what happened. Maybe the (overpriced) CHR with its decent interior is sign of an upturn?

10 May 2017
"Toyota actually sold more cars in the last fiscal year – 8,970,860, a rise from 289,532 in the previous period"

That's quite some increase, Autocar! ;-)

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