by Alex Gibson

Toyota may have regained its crown as the world’s biggest automaker, but president Akio Toyoda has been revealed to be the lowest paid car boss among the five largest automotive manufacturers.

Toyoda’s pay in 2012 was just over $2 million (184 million yen). Ford CEO Alan Mulally, the highest paid among the big-five, took home $21 million in the same period, followed by Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn’s $19million. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche took home $11.5 million, and GM boss Dan Akerson received $11 million, despite that maker’s well-known struggles in recent years.

Interestingly, while fellow Japanese manufacturer Nissan has seen profit growth stall in 2013, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s salary is more than five times higher than Toyoda’s.


Toyoda, grandson of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, took control of the automotive giant in June 2009, following the maker’s first annual loss in 59 years. This came after a crisis period for Toyota, involving a soaring yen and a series of dramatic recalls relating to unresponsive brakes that affected almost nine million vehicles.

“Akio has been tested like no other CEO of Toyota in the last 30 years,” said Maryann Keller of global auto-industry consulting firm Maryann Keller & Associates, referring to Toyoda’s challenge to rebuild consumer trust in the automaker and drive sales upwards.

Under the direction of Toyoda (pictured) the maker has seen sales increase by 28 per cent in 2013. By comparison, General Motors has grown by 12 per cent, and Volkswagen AG sales have fallen by 11 per cent.

Don’t feel too sorry for Toyoda just yet, though. A weakening yen means Toyota sales should increase as the year goes on. And, as a part of the Toyoda family, he controls shares in the automaker of about 0.13 per cent, valued at some $256 million.

  • F1orce

    Western CEOs are paid highly.

    Like USA, a nation that remunerates upper management & directors highly, but has the working class fight for peanuts..

  • Liam Sullivan

    They should all take a pay cut lol…i’d be happy with 2million a year…lol

    • Genesis1

      same LOL

  • bob

    Whats Toyoda???

    • Dave W

      The proper pronounciation of Toyota.

    • g

      It’s the guys name.


      Toyoda is a Japanese surname.

  • Dave W

    That’s the way it is with giant corporations isn’t it? The top gets heavier and heavier while being supported by the workforce at the bottom.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about jealousy or anything. It’s just that when a corporation is in trouble, eg. Ford/Holden in Australia, you don’t hear the top bosses taking any cut from their substantial salary. They’re still getting their millions while the workforce at the bottom is getting thinner.

    • $29896495

      Just about to write something along those lines. The GM boses want workers on below minimum (or average wage) while they stuff their pockets.

  • Telly

    The other companies could do worse than take a leaf out of Toyota’s book. Finally a CEO who is remunerated at a sensible rate for the sake of the company interest.

  • Hung Low

    Nobody is worth that sort of money mentioned here…greed greed greed.

    • Jacob

      $2 million/year is fair. Even the AFL CEO gets that much.

      • Hung Low

        In a world where a full time worker in a developing makes less than $2000 a year, no job is worth $2million base rate plus bonuses plus shares etc. His wages do seem very fair in the corporate world, but that is an out of touch representation of society in general.

        • JooberJCW

          Even though it is substantial and shows how out of touch top brass take home compared to the normal worker, for a Global company that is Toyota, that is pretty low in standards. Even look how much do the CEO of just national companies make e.g. Coles where the CEO takes home 5 x or more than this guy with like 100x less in company size to worry about.

        • Karl Sass

          I agree Hung, it might be a lot lower than his equivalents but it is simply an obscene amount of money for any individual to receive. Of course he should be paid well for a position of such responsibility, but he isn’t worth 30-40 times more than most workers.

          The issue is that if things are doing well upper management is credited for their success, if things are bad then they get pay increases for dealing with tough situations. There needs to be some situations where the wages can be brought back into line with the reality of the situation.

          • Dave W

            The $19 million difference between Toyoda’s and Ford’s Mulally’s salary can be used to pay a lot of Australian worker’s annual wage.

          • $29896495

            That’s why Australia had to go. Keep his money flowing. Don’t want to pay those dirty low class workers. Execs come first.

          • Hung Low

            To rub it in, he will be rewarded greatly for the successful closure of the Aussie factory. Mulally has been slowly poisoning the local operation for years. The Falcon could have been so much more from just a simple share of Ford Europes interior and in car systems was implemented along with a diesel power train. It got the Eco boost but the marketing failed to even address that this was a 2.0 fuel 4 cylinder with small car economy.

          • $29896495

            totally right

        • Ivn

          If I was working for Toyota, I’ll be happy to hear that my CEO is getting the lowest paid salary. His sacrifice means a more secure job for me so I can support my family.
          If I was working for GM, I’d want to quit and look for another more secure job because who knows the plant I’m working at might just be shut down in order to pay the CEO more $$.

  • asdasdf

    It’s to do with Japanese culture of team work rather than “self”. Japanese say “If nail pop up will knock down.”

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    Whilst I agree these salaries are pretty much excessive & some Aus CEO’s aren’t that fa behind either, it’s still up to the Companies board & shareholders to approve the salary.

    Having said that most if not all are performances based, so maybe the GM CEO is getting it of a free kick as he was put in after the other idiot was sacked, after the GFC debacle.

    Still I think Mr Toyoda would still be doing it very comfortably, plus no mention made of stock options for him either

    • haAFD

      If they are mostly performance based, how come CEOs of companies that go bust end up earning their big salary right up to the last day and still get big exit payouts after the company is in administration?

      The guy who led GM into a bankrupcy/bailout got given a retirement package worth $10 Million (and he was only 57)!

      • Doc

        Thats becuase it was approved by the board of directors, pretty much the same people voting each other into CEO in other companies. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. A director in one comp is CEO in another and vice versa.

  • Jonno

    Akio Toyoda is not only a CEO but also part of the founding family of Toyota Motors. He would have an emotional legacy towards Toyota. Whereas the others are just professional managers with little or small stakes in the company from their share options. The companies would have to pay according to CEO’s market value. Interestingly, USA (Ford, GM) and Germany (VW, MB-Daimler) CEOs are being paid very well in an industry which is considered “Sunset” plus both the US & EU markets are economically damaged zones. Toyota, on the other hand, has Asia & most of the emerging markets that are still growing.
    To put into perspective, $2 million salary for a CEO of a global company like Toyota is indeed a bargain. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s salary is more than five times higher than Toyoda’s yet Toyota Motors is over twice the size of Nissan in terms of production and sales.