Akio Toyoda vows to keep Toyota production in Japan above 3 million

The trials of combating COVID-19 have underscored the significance of safeguarding a home stronghold of producing firepower and manufacturing knowhow.

In his deal with, Toyoda bemoaned that Japan had hassle getting medical face masks when the pandemic hit as a result of most had been produced abroad. This was the outcome, Toyoda recommended, of a misguided technique of offshoring manufacturing to make items at decrease prices.

Decreasing waste and prices is a core tenet of Japan’s manufacturing philosophy. However it turns into self-defeating when firms begin chopping jobs, he recommended. If firms minimize too deep, they lose information and innovation together with staff.

“Persons are not prices,” Toyoda mentioned. “Persons are the supply of steady enchancment and a driving pressure for the expansion and growth of monozukuri,” he mentioned, utilizing the Japanese phrase that conveys the tradition of producing.

He identified that many Japanese firms, together with these of the Toyota Group, had been in a position to rally to combat the pandemic by turning their manufacturing assets to face shields, protecting robes and face masks. Why? As a result of that they had protected jobs and the monozukuri tradition.

“What we have now been defending to the final has not been ‘Three million autos,’ ” Toyoda mentioned. “What we have now been persevering with to guard have been individuals who have acquired the strategies and abilities that allow them to make what is critical when the world wants it.”

It’s particularly vital for Japan’s auto trade to tug its weight, he mentioned, as a result of the auto trade employs about 5 million folks — roughly 10 p.c of the nation’s working inhabitants.

In his presentation, Toyoda confirmed a slide outlining Toyota’s home output over time. As total manufacturing by all automakers in Japan shrank from greater than 10 million autos in 2000 to round 9.68 million in 2019, Toyota’s remained mainly unchanged at 3.42 million — besides for 2 blips beneath Three million in the course of the 2009 monetary disaster and the 2011 earthquake-tsunami.

Discovering new markets for Japan-built autos helps. Simply final week, Toyota unveiled the Venza crossover for the U.S. . It’s a rebadged model of the Harrier, bought and made in Japan.

One slide summed up Toyoda’s pondering succinctly. Toyota, it mentioned, would “preserve manufacturing of three million items and employment, regardless of how extreme the financial surroundings turns into.”

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