Adapting in Adversity: Toyota Canada President and CEO on automakers success during the pandemic 

Toronto, Ontario —  In a speech to key Canadian auto industry influencers, the presidents of Toyota Canada and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) described how Toyota’s culture of corporate agility and resilience positioned the automaker for success during a very challenging year.

As the world grappled with several significant issues, Toyota focused on the future: continuing to electrify its product lineup, preparing to produce a new electrified model in Canada, and introducing new technology and mobility options for its customers.

The audience attending the company’s annual corporate dinner (held virtually this year) heard how, when faced with a confluence of issues in 2020, Toyota quickly adapted – not only to the challenges themselves but to the rapidly shifting priorities and expectations of Canadian consumers.

“Agility and resilience are in Toyota’s corporate DNA, so we were well-positioned to adapt,” said Larry Hutchinson, President & CEO of Toyota. “We’re a problem-solving company at heart, and we used the interruption to business-as-usual as an opportunity to accelerate the evolution of our business.”

With 191,420 total vehicles sold in 2020, Toyota ended the year as Canada’s number one automaker in retail sales.

“Toyota has a strong history of solving problems while simultaneously growing and planning for the future,” added Frank Voss, president of TMMC. “We just find ways to adjust our operations and continue to build great products. We might actually be at our best when facing challenges.”

With more than 427,000 vehicles produced in 2020, despite seven fewer weeks of production time, TMMC maintained its status as Canada’s largest auto producer.

According to Hutchinson, the priorities for the automotive industry were further brought into focus by the social and environmental turbulence the world faced in 2020.

“The messages for our industry were clear. We need to be more connected and offer more shared services. We need to work even harder at being inclusive. And, perhaps more than anything else, the Canadian automotive industry needs to be even more electrified and emit even less carbon.”

Last year, Toyota Canada sold more than 35,000 electrified vehicles – about the same as all the battery-electric vehicles sold in Canada, by all the other auto manufacturers, combined. And, since August, electrified vehicles have accounted for 20-30 percent of Toyota Canada’s overall sales each month. 

Hutchinson projects electrified sales will account for 40 percent of Toyota’s overall sales by 2025.

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