Toyoda’s makeover will focus on three key areas: leveraging Toyota Group companies, building alliances with other automakers, and expanding deeply into artificial intelligence and technology.
Toyoda dubs the strategy “Home and Away.” It refers to unlocking the strengths of Toyota’s vast array of companies while also looking farther afield for new partners and markets.
Another novel idea: Spinning off some of the new businesses that are being incubated within Toyota.
That notion mirrors the thinking at of Toyoda’s grandfather Kiichiro, who started dabbling with automobiles as kind of a pet project inside the family’s then-flagship loom- manufacturing empire. Only later, in 1937, did Kiichiro spin off Toyota Motor as its own company.
Fast-forward to the present era, and similarly future-looking subsidiaries, such as Toyota Connected, TRI-AD and Admatechs are the spinoff candidates of tomorrow.
They too could someday blossom into businesses that rival the size of their parent, he believes, just as Toyota Motor eclipsed what was then known as Toyota Automatic Loom Works, a company that still exists as Toyota Industries Corp., yet is anything but a household name.
“When we have those kinds of businesses,” Toyoda said, “it would be better to spin them off, rather than try to retain them and grow them within the company.”
Toyota Connected is the internal company headed by Toyoda confidant Shigeki Tomoyama. It focuses on telematics, digital marketing, smart communities and dealer integration. Its motto: “Free us from the tyranny of technology, making a connected life a more human experience.”
TRI-AD, short for Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, was formed last year with group suppliers Aisin Seiki Co. and Denso Corp. Its mission is making the software needed to run self-driving cars. Its catchphrase is “Silicon Valley agility. Japanese master craftsmanship.”
Admatechs Co. is a joint venture between Toyota, Shin-Etsu Chemical Corp. and Shin-Etsu Quartz Products Co. that focuses on developing advanced materials for use in computers, electronics, autos, food and medical equipment.