Toyota President to World: “No More Boring Cars”
When Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation and grandson of Toyota founder, Sakichi Toyoda, speaks, the car world listens.
As we’ll see, that’s exactly what happened in early 2017 when Mr Toyoda announced “no more boring cars” for the brand he presides over.
Who’s Akio Toyoda
Born in 1956, the Japanese business executive has been president of Toyota since 2009.
The influential Toyoda family has always kept their own members closely entwined with the brand and Akio Toyoda is no exception. He officially joined his family’s business in 1984.
Akio Toyoda has a strong interest in motorsports and car design.
In previous decades, Toyota had a strong reputation for efficient production of reliable but not-so-exciting work commuters like the Camry and Corolla, but that’s changing.
Looking back at Toyota in the early 2000s and it’s clear they weren’t going for bold or exciting.
Previous “cool” Toyota vehicles were replaced by “plain” ones. For example the Supra, a vehicle that gave the brand huge performance flare and a massive following, finished production in 1998 and wouldn’t commence again until 2020.
Other exciting products shared the pattern;
- Celica - sports car ceased production in 2006
- Celica GT-Four - high performance version of the Celica, ceased production in 1999
- MR2 - sports car ceased production in 2007
- W20 MR2 (1989 - 1999) - this version of the MR2 saw many high performance versions, including a Toyota Racing Development version in the late 1990s.
It should be noted that when Toyota updated the MR2 in 1999, the new version went from the previous model’s 163kW 2-litre turbo engine, down to a 1.8-litre non-turbo engine with only 108kW.
Unfortunately for buyers looking for something exciting, the loss of performance cars showed a shift in focus for the brand.
(Top: 1999 Celica GT-Four. Bottom: 2000 Celica)
(Top: 1999 W20 MR2. Bottom: 2000 MR2)
“No more boring cars”
Motorsports enthusiast, Aiko Toyoda pushed for more exciting products from his company.
When he made the announcement public in early 2017, Toyota’s reputation began to change.
Exciting and bold designs, previously too outrageous and “inefficient” for the factory, were given the greenlight.
It all started with the Prius.
The first vehicle to get the overhaul was the Prius. Although Toyota was still testing the water with their bolder designs, the third and fourth-generation Prius models show big changes, especially in the front end of the vehicle.
(Top: 3rd generation Prius (2009 - 2015). Bottom: 4th generation Prius (2015 - present). Source: thecarconnection.com)
Other cool cars came along after the president’s announcement;
- 2016: Toyota C-HR: 2016 - present
- 2019: RAV4 (more aggressive styling and engine goes from max 145kW to 163kW)
- 2020: Re-introduction of the Supra (finally, after a 22-year hiatus)
- 2020: GR Yaris (went from 2019’s 80kW engine with FWD to a possible 200kW AWD system)
- 2020: Yaris Cross (subcompact crossover SUV with AWD option)
There are many more facelifts, redesigns and new product launches from Toyota that have come about all over the world since Akio Toyoda’s “no more boring cars” announcement.
Toyota has received a lot of praise (and sales) after ensuring excitement in its cars - a trend it clearly plans to continue.
For example, the GR HiLux due in 2022. The ute is following Toyota’s “GR” lineup and offers a sporty, fast and, or course, exciting take on the HiLux with upgrades, including power output.
There are also rumours of a new Celica and/or MR2. Potentially due for release in 2024, the MR2 could be resurrected with a 3-litre V6 hybrid.
Expect to hear similar rumours about the Celica as Toyota will likely want to compete with the new Nissan 400Z.
Get into an exciting vehicle
If your vehicle is feeling a little outdated or you’re keen to step into something that excites you a little more, the Positive team is here to make it happen.
Start by having a look at the numbers to see what kind of repayments you might be up for.