Toyota has taken advantage of the pandemic to prepare for an exciting future.
Toyota Canada’s 2021 Corporate Dinner, an annual event that usually dovetails with the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, was held online this year on Feb 23rd.
The company generously couriered complete catered meals to all invited guests, assuring that everyone enjoyed a gourmet meal while viewing the virtual dinner from the comfort of their individual homes.
One of the key takeaways from the speeches heard during the program is that Toyota has been preparing for a post-pandemic future, with plans in place to bring new products, technologies and innovations to the market in the very near future.
“We used last spring’s interruption to business as usual as an opportunity to accelerate the evolution of our business,” explained Larry Hutchinson, President and CEO of Toyota Canada, speaking at this year’s dinner.
“Fortunately, we had support right from the top. Very early in the pandemic, global President Akio Toyoda asked everyone in the organization to be mindful of the need to keep costs under control. But he also said, and this is very important, we must avoid the temptation to pull back and do the things that will set us up for the future.”
The message Toyota was sending to company executives around the globe is: spend wisely while continuing to invest in the things that matter. In Toyota’s opinion, what matters is electrification and connected vehicles.
“2020 also made it clear to us that Canadian consumers want more mobility options at their fingertips,” Hutchinson added. So, while many companies backed away from car sharing plans, Toyota Canada did the opposite.
“We were confident car sharing would make a comeback, and we thought 2020 would be a great time to test our ideas. And we think we were right. Last summer we launched our KINTO Share proof of concept with some of our Toyota dealers in southern Ontario.”
Hybrids & BEVs
Hutchinson explained how Toyota is moving ahead with plans to bring to market more electrified and climate-friendly vehicles.
“We’re on track to meet our goals to offer an electrified option of every model we sell globally by 2025,” he said. “We’re also working hard toward global sales of a million zero emission vehicles by 2030.”
Toyota’s plan includes hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, electric fuel cell, and battery electric vehicles.
“Yes, as you may have heard recently, we will be introducing North America to our battery electric vehicles very soon,” he added. “We’ll have two battery electric vehicle models and another plug-in hybrid electric vehicle coming to North America next year.”
Future of the industry
Speaking about the future of the automotive industry, Hutchinson explained that it’s not as simple as some may claim.
“Our industry’s future will be complex, made up of multiple powertrain technologies, multiple vehicle ownership models, multiple retail approaches, and multiple new mobility options. So be wary of anyone who tells you they have a single answer because chances are, that means they don’t understand the complexity of the challenges we’re faced with. And at the same time, it’s an exciting future, and one that Toyota is ready to help create.”