Tesla became the most valuable car company in the world last July, leaving Toyota and Volkswagen in the dust. That’s impressive for a company that sold 367,500 vehicles in 2019. According to Bloomberg, Akio Toyoda finally commented on that in an online briefing. In his words, although Tesla says its recipe will be the standard in the future, it is Toyota that has “a real kitchen and a real chef.”
Toyoda would have said that while he commented on how Toyota more than doubled its operating profit forecast for 2020. These amazing results were not enough for the company to get at least close to Tesla’s current market cap.
Bloomberg reports that it is very unusual for the executive to address Tesla directly. In this case, Toyoda did way more than just mentioning the rival company. He mentioned that the company could teach Toyota some stuff in some parts of the speech, such as making a profit from pure electric cars, software – something Herbert Diess also acknowledged – and renewable energy products.
Regardless, the Japanese executive did not spare words about Tesla achieved so far. In Toyoda’s words, Tesla is not “making something that is real,” and “people are just buying the recipe.” We are not sure if Toyota’s CEO considers the “recipe” as electric cars that are connected to the internet, such as Diess, or if he believes it extends to something else, such as the claim that it is saving the world with electric mobility.
Toyoda concluded his cooking metaphor by repeating that his company has “the kitchen and chef,” and that it makes “real food.”
Ironically, Toyota and GM were the companies that sold Tesla its first professional kitchen, which they used to call NUMMI before it became simply Fremont. Toyota also helped Tesla back in the day by buying components from it – such as the motor and battery pack in the second-generation RAV4 EV. We wonder if the Japanese company now resents having done so. Considering Toyoda’s words, that would not be unlikely.