A funny thing about being a car enthusiast is that you may love a brand and its vehicles, but you may not know who runs the ship. I adore Smart so much that I own five Fortwos, but I couldn’t tell you the name of the CEO of Smart. Google currently doesn’t even give you the correct result when you search for Smart’s CEO! Enthusiasts of some brands don’t need to do a web search to tell them who is running the show, because they’ve left an imprint that lasts.
Akio Toyoda–who will step down on March 32st–will be known to many as the gearhead CEO. For reader, engineer, pro racer, and today’s COTD winner Anthony, Toyoda turned around his impressions of Toyota:
For me, Toyoda turned around my impressions of Toyota during the time when I was an engineer there. He is one of my 3 current automotive OEM heros (along with Ralph Gilles and Jim Farley). His legacy, to me, will be providing us with 2 generations of 86, the Supra, and GR Corolla (and Yaris), all WITH MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS. I don’t think it’s any mistake that he picked the guy who has been heading Gazoo Racing to be his successor.
I mean, Toyoda once brought a one-off Century GRMN to Fuji Speedway!
Admittedly, there are some names that brighten my day when I see them in our comments. A lot of you make me smile, including Anthony! I’ve also enjoyed your track reviews. I hope to meet some of you next month at David’s going away bash.
As for Toyota, it is pretty awesome that as other automakers remove manual transmissions or take some spice out of their cars, Toyota still makes cars that get you pumped to get behind the wheel. It was amazing to go to the Los Angeles Auto Show and see people of all ages hopping into the manual Supra and pretending to be racing. Seeing teens jumping in it reminded me of when I did the same many years ago at the Chicago Auto Show with sports cars. People remember that stuff, I sure did. Here’s to Toyota keeping fun cars into the future.
In case you were wondering, Google says that Katrin Adt is the CEO of Smart. However, when Smart joined forces with Geely in 2019, Adt was moved to another part of the Daimler portfolio. Smart’s CEO is Tong Xiangbei while Smart Europe is run by Dirk Adelmann. Come on, Google!