Toyota president Akio Toyoda has drawn a parallel between the changes happening in the company now to what happened when Toyota first came into existence.
Toyoda was speaking at a press conference to present the automaker’s financial results. He acknowledged the “many lessons that we learned” through the company’s partnerships with Subaru, BMW and Mazda.
The partnerships were part of the reason for Toyota adopting a new organisational structure. It was also a factor in the company’s decision to establish the Toyota Research Laboratory.
The changes do not stop there, however, says Toyoda, with more transformations in the pipeline.
Toyoda said in his speech: “I mentioned that our circumstances are likely to change in the future. This does not simply refer to changes in our short-term business environment and profits. It is also a fact that mobility itself is reaching a critical turning point.
“We want to embrace that momentous change, and actively work to create types of new value that cannot be generated within the boundaries of the conventional automotive business.
“The Toyota Research Institute, established in January this year, is one such initiative.
“For me, TRI is like the Automobile Department that Kiichiro Toyoda established within the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, the predecessor of Toyota Motor Corporation, in 1930. Back then, he took on the challenge of making a substantial paradigm shift―going from building automatic looms to building cars. Together with TRI, we are creating the opportunity to make another fundamental change in our business model.
“Automated driving and robotics are challenges that affect us closely. However, artificial intelligence is a vital basic technology for many industries outside of the automotive industry as well.
“We are aiming to create new types of value that can contribute to society above and beyond the perceived scope of our own industry. We will support the activities of Dr. Gill Pratt, TRI’s CEO, and his team by providing the freedom to face these challenges.”