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!
I don’t really get all the praise this guy gets. I mean sure, he had someone call up Subaru and BMW to let them slap Toyota badges on a couple of cars, but at the same time he spent millions on TV ads full of lies about BEVs, sided with Trump against California’s emission standards and keeps pretending hydrogen cars are a thing just so his company can keep milking the japanese govt.
Standard CEO material, billionaire grandson of company founder. I guess any other CEO can be an instant hero if he does some track days 😉
Same story with Carlos Tavares, the guy is a shot piece of CEO but gets a pass because racer.
I agree with the bit about the 86 and the “Supra”, as well as the fact hydrogen isn’t a viable fuel for automobiles but I haven’t seen any anti BEV ads from Toyota.
That being said Toyota being anti BEV for cars makes a ton of sense. For every MPH over 35MPH you go the wind resistance you face grows exponentially. Even though ICE engines are usually under 30% efficient their fuel is so energy dense and so quick to refuel it makes a ton of sense for high speed long distance travel. Electric cars on the other hand while more that 3 times efficient than ICE vehicles hold less than the equivalent 5 gallons of gas in energy and they take a while to refill.
PHEVs are the worst of both worlds. A heavy battery that has hardly any range when brand new in optimal temperature and weather conditions and a gas engine that has to haul around that battery that only becomes more of a paperweight as time goes on. When PHEVs are forced onto people (like they are in most of western Europe) they’ve found that 80% of the people who buy them don’t plug them in ever. Wouldn’t those 80% be better off with a lighter more efficient non plug in hybrid that doesn’t require a ton more rare earth metals?
Because of this BEVs make little sense for long distance high speed travel, which is most car Travel outside of cities. Optimally I think the best setup is low range BEVs in the city, and low range BEVs in town, with non plug in hybrids for high speed long distance travel.
Minimalizing pollution is of great importance but at our current rate we’re not building many BEVs and the few we are building are pretty expensive. For example currently Ford is producing a very small amount of F-150 Lightnings for massive amounts of money without markups. Right now 73% of orders for Maverick pickups are for hybrids and and they make up ~20% of production. Hybrids used to be 80% of orders but because of year+ long delays and Ford has allowed people to change their hybrid orders to ecoboost engines which usually results in them getting a month or so instead of a year or longer.
With a base model F-150 Lightning it has a 98kwh battery pack and the long range models have a 131kwh battery pack. The Maverick Hybrid 1.1kwh battery pack. That means you could make at minimum 89 battery packs with the same capacity as the Maverick Hybrid battery pack.
What do you think has a greater effect on reducing exhaust emissions: 1 wealthy person buying a Full size short bed crew cab electric pickup truck? or 89 people minimum buying pickups that get 42 MPG city and 33 highway, most of them likely replacing much less fuel efficient vehicles with it?
With current battery tech and chemistries it’s estimated we’d burn through the necessary materials before we replaced 1/3rd of all the ICE cars on the planet with BEVs. I think right now our goal should be making the biggest dent in exhaust emissions with what we have now. Toyota is doing that and Ford could easily be doing that.
I can afford a BEV and I want a BEV, but sadly almost every BEV sold in the US is a oversized, overweight, technophilic, POS rolling on low profile tires. and the few non overweight, non technophilic, BEVs not riding on low profile tires (like the Nissan Leaf) don’t appeal to me for reasons like the horrible blind spots and lack of ground clearance (in my area we got dumped with snow and my 94 Toyota pickup with 4WD and snow tires was struggling with ground clearance in places.) I’d gladly buy a couple Nissan e-NV200s but guess what Nissan won’t sell in the US…
So right now I’m stuck with my 1994 Toyota pickup that gets 21 MPG on a good day, and there’s nothing that can replace it currently that is sold new in the US. So I’m just stuck doing my best to make sure my Toyota lasts long enough that something new will come out for sale in the US that I can replace it with. However if I’m unlucky and my Truck dies before then I’ll probably build a custom ICE rig that’ll last long enough to the point I can put a BEV drivetrain in it for cheap. If noone comes out with anything new for sale that I want before 2026 then I’ll start working on the rig.
They have started their anti-EV campaign years ago and still going strong today, especially in Japan. That’s on top of their non-stop lobbying efforts against EVs. They’re the Exxon of the car world.
I wouldn’t say that the advertisement was anti EV, rather it made a very small reference to an advantage over BEVs which is refueling time. If I was a competitor making BEVs and advertising BEVs I’d make an ad showing the BEV driving by somebody waiting on a jiffy lube guy to do their oil change then talk about how your BEV doesn’t need oil changes.
That ad wouldn’t be ‘Anti ICE’, but it would make a very good point for why to get a BEV over an ICE vehicle.
I’m sure you will find some way to defend this one as well.
Apparently just like the Elon stans who defend him with their lives, Toyota also has some cultists. I was not aware of this. I should get out more 🙂
Targeting/using kids to push politics is wrong no matter who does it. That being said I don’t read or speak Japanese so I’m sorry that I cannot rail against that example more specifically.
Don’t worry, I got plenty against Toyota. If I was going to buy a new car purely as an appliance I’d probably get a new AWD-e Prius, however since I love driving nothing and a car is more than an appliance for me no current production Toyotas sold in the US appeal to me.
One of my main issues with Toyota currently is how they have the perfect tech to make very fuel efficient “mid” sized (more like full sized) and “full” sized (more like plus sized) Trucks via planetary e-CVTs with naturally aspirated engines but instead with the new Tundra Hybrid (and it looks like the new Taco will follow suit) it has turbocharged engines and traditional automatic transmissions, so instead of doubling the MPG while increasing the reliability, durability, longevity, simplicity, etc. they just increased the weight, complexity, cost, etc. while decreasing reliability, durability, longevity, simplicity, etc. all for a few MPG benefit.
Planetary e-CVTs > Modern automatic transmissions
Strike nothing from the above comment, idk how that got there…
I learned from this post. Thank you.
Honestly, it does bug me, but at the end of the day, what automotive company isn’t a massive anti-progress, emissions dumping, stuck in the past, plague on the world? All corporations are killing us. The problem is capitalism. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. If I got caught up in all of that, I would have no more cars to like, I’d just be mad all the time lol (although yes Toyota is worse than some of them, I will concede). The real issue is massive logistics and factory emissions, if we solve those and massively increase public transit, emissions from personal vehicles should be basically negligible, and we can still go vroom vroom. Basically governments shouldn’t punish the consumer, let us keep our cars, but instead go after the producers.
Yes it is capitalism that is the problem. We need to switch to a tyrannical form of government. I mean just look how clean the air is in China and Russia. And we could also become competitive again in manufacturing when we arrest anyone who complains and use them for slave labor.
You sir are clearly a genius of the most astute kind and i would like to nominate you as a ruler for all of North America. Huzzah and Bazinga.
First off, both China and Russia are capitalist; some might argue Russia is further ahead in its capitalism than we are (we’re also heading that way but not there yet).
Second, having some rules and regulations to prevent corporations from owning us as serfs while poisoning our water and air isn’t really tyranny, but quite the opposite. If in doubt you can take a look at western Europe, where the higher standards of living are because of those rules & regs.
‘Akio Toyoda–who will step down on March 32st’
What do you mean never? It’s literally The Autopian birthday.
*test drove, autocorrect has it in for me today!
I tear drove an 86 in 2013 and was strongly considering taking the plunge on one. Such a fun car to drive, so glad that they got past the concept stage.
It would have been my only new-car purchase, but I decided to stick to older cars instead and maintain them myself.
The 86/BRZ is one of the four cars I contend seem to have near-universal appeal over here, the others being the Subaru WRX, the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Mustang.
Those four seem to not have an age, gender or other demographical boundary like other vehicles sometimes do.