Currently reading: Toyota promises review after profits drop
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.”

Toyota president akio toyoda

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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.”

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Dark Isle 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! ;-)

Shrub 10 May 2017

Overpriced and

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?
Ski Kid 10 May 2017

the designs are boring

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.