Toyota President Calls For Greater Auto Industry Technical Cooperation
12 January 2000Toyota President Calls For Greater Auto Industry Technical Cooperation
DETROIT, Jan. 12 -- In remarks to the North American International Auto Show here today, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) President Fujio Cho called for greater cooperation in developing efficient, clean vehicles to assure the auto industry's future prosperity, as the world's motorists increase in number and natural resources become more limited. Cho's remarks to the North American International Auto Show press breakfast marked the first time a president of TMC has addressed the Detroit Auto Show. Cho called for industry collaboration to prepare for the challenges facing society and carmakers in the 21st Century. "We can no longer afford to ignore the signs of global warming and the fact that the consumption of gasoline and other fossil fuels is on the rise," he said. "Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option...they will become a necessity." Noting Toyota's clean technology alliances with General Motors and Volkswagen, Cho called for automakers to take the lead in finding cleaner, more efficient and more marketable environmentally sound vehicles for the future. "To reach our goals as an industry, we must continue to cooperate in the laboratory -- and compete in the showroom," he said. Cho cited the commercially successful Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle and other advanced technologies as providing Toyota a head start toward development of a fuel cell hybrid vehicle as the ultimate eco-car. "It has always been Toyota's desire to provide realistic solutions that demonstrate our commitment to a cleaner environment," he said. "I pledge that Toyota will play its part as the auto industry endeavors to create a better world in the twenty-first century." Cho also introduced TMC Member of the Board Toshiaki "Tag" Taguchi as the new president of New York-based Toyota Motor North America (TMA). As a senior managing director, Taguchi supervised TMC's overseas operations. He will now oversee the newly activated TMA, which will coordinate operations and improve productivity of Toyota's sales, manufacturing, finance and research affiliates in the U.S. and Canada. The initial corporate function to be coordinated by TMA will be external affairs. Cho named Toyota Motor Sales Senior Vice President James Olson as TMA's senior vice president of external and regulatory affairs. The establishment of TMA represents another step in Toyota's long-term commitment to its North American operations and follows the company's listing of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange late last year. In December, Toyota announced plans to further expand production at its Princeton, Indiana, plant, helping to bring its North American capacity to 1.45 million vehicles annually with a total investment in North America of more than $10 billion.