09 Apr 2021
Akio Toyoda, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Corporation, has been voted the 2021 World Car Person of the Year by the World Car Awards jury panel of 93 international journalists.
In the announcement statement, the panel said under Mr Toyoda’s leadership Toyota remained profitable in 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19, thus protecting jobs worldwide.
“He has maintained Toyota's pace of steady development for the Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric era, and he has initiated construction of the Woven City, an exciting real-life prototype city of the future. All while actively participating in motorsports himself, as a driver,” noted the jury.
Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Neeraj Lala paid tribute to Mr Toyoda’s leadership, particularly his ability to steer the company through the challenges of the past decade, including the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and his relentless ambition to inject more excitement and style into Toyota’s latest line up of cars and light commercial vehicles.
“Akio hasn’t been seduced by one vehicle powertrain. While he was personally involved in the development of the new GR Supra and GR Yaris, he sees benefit in a multifaceted approach to enable affordable and accessible mobility for all,” Mr Lala said.
On hearing of his award, the charming Akio Toyoda said, “On behalf of all 360,000 Toyota Team members around the world, thank you for this tremendous honour! If you don’t mind, however, I would like to change this award from car “person” of the year to car “people” of the year… because it’s the collective effort of all our global employees, retailers and suppliers that has truly made Toyota what it is today! And I for one, couldn’t be a luckier… or a more grateful CEO.”
Mr Toyoda, the great-grandson of Toyota founder Sakichi Toyoda, said Toyota is dedicated to providing mobility for all. “But we are equally committed to creating new ways to support the well-being of our planet and people everywhere. This has been a difficult period in the history of the world, but it has also reminded us that people are what matters most… and if we at Toyota, can contribute some measure of happiness to their lives, it will be my never-ending goal to do just that. Thank you again for this award… and to my fellow car lovers, see you on the track!”
The World Car Person of the Year award is one of six awards handed out annually by the World Car Awards. The 2021 World Car Awards will be announced on 20 April. The Toyota Yaris is a finalist in three World Car Award categories.
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