Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda Appointed Now Head Of EV Planning Division

11 months ago by Eric Loveday 34

Toyota Motors President Akio Toyoda (L) as he holds the key of a Tesla Roadstar (front) handed to him by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk during the presentation of the car at Tesla Japan's headquarter showroom in Tokyo. Tesla Motors shares raced higher October 2, 2014 after founder Elon Musk tantalized fans via Twitter with a hint the electric carmaker will unveil a new model next week. "About time to unveil the D and something else," Musk said in his tweet, without elaborating. The message included a photo of a partially open garage door with the letter "D" and the silhouette of an automobile. Underneath was written October 9, 2014. Tesla shares jumped 4.5 percent to $251.09 in afternoon trade, amid frenzied speculation about the announcement. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURATOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: 534030210

Toyota Motors President Akio Toyoda as he holds the key of a Tesla Roadstar handed to him by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

Toyota has announced a major shake up in the roles of some of its highest level employees, including its CEO/President Akio Toyoda.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

In a shift that certainly shows Toyota is now serious when it comes to electric vehicles, the automaker has appointed its CEO, Akio Toyoda, to head up its newly formed electric vehicle division.

In addition to Toyoda getting the top spot, the automaker’s #2 in charge (two individuals, actually), Executive Vice Presidents Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi, have both been appointed to spots on the electric vehicle team.

Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi stated:

“By putting the president and vice presidents in charge of the department, we plan to speed up development of electric cars.”

“The president will directly oversee the department’s operations to enable decisions to be made quickly and nimbly.”

Akio Toyoda has long had a passion for plug-ins (and racing), but he’s been unable to push forward his ideas of developing electric cars that are desirable in terms of performance. He’s been a fan of Tesla from the get-go and with him in charge of Toyota’s electric vehicle division, we expect to see some exciting plug-in products in Toyota’s near future.

Here’s the full list of changes posted by Toyota:


Source: Reuters, Toyota, hat tip to spark EV!

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34 responses to "Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda Appointed Now Head Of EV Planning Division"

  1. georgeS says:

    That is significant. Like putting Mary Barra in charge of EV development team at GM.

    1. SparkEV says:

      It’s more revolutionary that that. It’s like Elon Musk taking charge of FCV development. When the flagship zero emission vehicle (Mirai) lags even lowly SparkEV that cost only 1/4, that should’ve been a wake up call. Maybe Mr. Toyoda got tired of being embarrassed. Better late than never.

  2. Sublime says:

    Is that like being hired as head meat purchaser for a vegan restaurant?

    1. georgeS says:

      LOL Sublime!!

    2. jimijonjack says:

      They’ll sneak in an ICE engine now & then when no-one’s looking..

    3. Kdawg says:

      And they will try to sell us “facon” telling us it’s “bacon”

    4. Bret says:

      +1 Sublime

      I would recommend they hire someone with some real EV experience to lead the team, instead of the guy who has been pushing for fool cells for the past wasted years.

      1. SJC says:

        Some explanation of Japanese culture may be in order. If 10 executives say no EVs, this is what they do.
        Toyota sold their Fremont, CA. plant to Tesla for cheap, at that time they could have made EVs there but did not.

        1. Bret says:

          Very true SJC.

          I worked for Japanese companies in the 80s and 90s, so I know all about it. This is probably just Toyoda’s way of Saving Face.

          I still think Toyota should poach a couple of engineers and executives from Nissan to jump-start their EV efforts. That’s what we would do here in the US.

          1. SJC says:

            There is no reason Toyota can not make progress on EVs, they just have not made it a priority. Conservative management does not take chances when they don’t have to.

      2. wavelet says:

        They did. If you notice from the table in the article, the Chief Engineer for the new division is Koji Toyoshima… He was the Chief Engineer for the Prius Prime, and certainly understands EVs.
        I just hope that the Toyota board lets them design (& build and sell!) real EVs, PHEVs or BEVs, with real range this time.

  3. Seuthès says:

    To paraphrase a great philosopher :”Hell! It’s about time !”

  4. David Murray says:

    Great… so in another 3 to 5 years maybe we’ll actually see a decent product come to market? This should have been done 3 years ago.

  5. SJC says:

    Since he has been SO slow with EVs,
    this may not be a “promotion”.

    1. gizmo84 says:

      yea, This may be a punishment from the Toyota board for not getting into EV’s sooner. I can picture the Toyota board saying “You got us into this mess, now you have to clean it up fast!”

      1. SJC says:

        He may have tried to promote EVs in the past but failed, that shows lack of leadership.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    As was said in an earlier discussion: Looks like Toyota will be hiring four EV enegineers; one to sign the battery delivery contract (with Panasonic?), and the other three to reverse engineering the Volt and/or the Model ≡. 😉

    So now we know the name of the guy who will be signing the battery contract.

  7. Lad says:

    Toyota is another legacy car maker that has to make their numbers for the stock market so they must continue to sell ICVs while working the EVs into the mix. And, the hydrogen thing must be a prior commitment to the fossil fuel interests.

    Rumor has it they have a red telephone directly to Tesla. Let me remind you Toyota sold Tesla their current assembly plant in Fremont, California and Tesla supplied batteries for the Toyota compliance SUV. There is a history here folks and with the largest car maker showing this amount of interest in EVs, I think we are under way. Just hope Trump and the Republicans don’t get in the way.

  8. Ed Stein says:

    I think Trump will try and get in the way. It’s not like Toyota is new at this. They’ve been putting batteries in Priuses since 1997. Given their reliability I highly doubt their EV batteries will show 20% degrdation before 50K miles like the Leaf does or be in the shop as often as a Chevy. I expect their product to be excellent.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      “be in the shop as often as a Chevy”

      What time capsule does this comment come from?

      GM announced 8% quarterly sales growth, year over year, not from fleet discounting but retail customers. People who wouldn’t show up, if this were true. Even the Wall Street Journal is having a harder time skewering them.

  9. K L says:

    Musk once said that he expects to be working with Toyota again, after Toyota announced that they sold their TSLA holdings and would no longer build the RAV4-EV’s.

    Looks like we should expect some new “powered by Tesla” bylines soon.

  10. William says:

    Toyota, Toy Yoda, when will you ever learn. “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is”.

  11. JP DeCaen says:

    It’s obvious they are trying to re-create the start-up environment with Toyoda substituting for young Musk. It’s all the rage now; witness Dieter Zetsche in his Steve Jobs type attire.

  12. JyKiaNiro says:

    If the demand for prime is any indication, other automakers should get their asses hauling.

    1. SJC says:

      781 Toyota Prius Prime models were delivered last month (November) during that month more than 2500 Chevy Volts were sold.

  13. Jake Brake says:

    So with all they recent changes they have 4 engineers plus these 9 execs for a total of 13 people working on the car in a traditional upside down pyramid hierarchy.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      What it really means is that the board considers it very important and will be keeping a close eye, and will want to make sure that the “resources” in the company are very cooperative with the EV team.

  14. Priusmaniac says:

    “Akio Toyoda has long had a passion for plug-ins (and racing), but he’s been unable to push forward his ideas of developing electric cars that are desirable in terms of performance.”

    We really need an in dept full book here because Akio Toyoda has been in change for a while, so how can he not have been able to push forward his ideas of developing electric cars?

    What could have been all the intrigues that prevented him to act? That would sure be very interesting to read and a best seller of 2017.

    1. Deven says:

      Japanese corporate culture; don’t stand out. Good ideas are taken and used but being recognized for it is bad. He is too high up and the idea too new. It would look bad to Japs.

  15. Martin T. says:

    At last Toyota and Mr Toyoda have all come to their senses on plug ins.

    Now we wait for a Toyota plug in and fingers crossed stylish / sporty with Mr Toyoda’s input.

    Finally 🙂

  16. balaji says:

    If No changes Toyota become a NOKIA.

  17. G2 says:

    Toyota was a joke to the US car market when they showed up in the 70s and then they made their way to #1 on the planet.
    Don’t laugh too much because their history made history.