A collective sigh of relief for all car fans as the new president of Toyota Motor Corp., took over operations of the world’s biggest car maker last week.
The grandson of the original Toyota founder, the new president has plans to reform the Big T quickly. However, there is an interesting issue. Mr Toyoda loves racing yet many want him safe and sound out of the drivers seat.
Our own Anthony Crawford recently saw the 53 year old compete at the 24-hour endurance race on Germany’s highly respected and dangerous Nurburgring track. Making it his third appearance in a row.
Leading Japan’s biggest company and racing at such high level is a big risk issue. Some inside Toyota are worried that any accident or injury for Mr Toyoda could cause problems for the company.
The new boss was recently asked if he would continue to race, but wouldn’t give a definite answer.
“The folks here are pleading with me to stop, but there’s a reason why I participate in these races. First, it’s because it’s Nurburgring. Second, it’s 24 hours. And third, it has a lot to do with the development of cars. Put another way, you can say that I’m staking my life to come up with a better product,” Toyoda said.
In another bit of good news, Mr Toyoda also runs his own blog, at Gazoo.com. A few years ago having met Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez, (Mr Bez racing at Nurburgring despite strong objections from his staff) one of his blog entries reads:
“It’s because there’s someone like this at the top that the company can come up with an emotional sports car like the Vantage. That was the feeling I got as an employee at a carmaker.”
It will be very interesting to see if Toyota can get its soul back now that it’s in the hands of a passionate car lover with a desire for speed!