Toyota Kicks-off Fifth Leg of '5 Continents Drive' to learn from African
Toyota City, Japan, Aug, 09 2018; In late August, Toyota will kick off the fifth leg of the 5 Continents Drive Project(1) in Africa, the fourth continent in the project. Following Australia in 2014, the Americas(2) in 2015 and 2016, and Europe in 2017, this year project members will head to Africa, which boasts the second largest surface area and population of any continent in the world.
This time, members from SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION, Hino Motors Ltd., and TOYOTA AUTO BODY Co., Ltd. will also join the project. By experiencing the unique culture, climate, and harsh conditions in which vehicles are used, the project seeks to enable participants to better understand customer needs, and to consider what sort of cars will be most suited to the Africa of tomorrow.
Message from Akio Toyoda (Toyota Motor Corporation President):
"Our 5 Continents Drive Project was born from the idea that, 'in order to make ever-better cars, we need to better understand the world's roads.'
Since the project commenced in 2014, 480 employees have driven for 350 days over 89,000 kilometers across three continents: Australia, the Americas (both North and South America), and Europe.
Team members of the 5 Continents Drive Project left their usual work behind and, taking hold of the steering wheels themselves, 'conversed' with a variety of different roads around the world. At times, these included roads in severe natural environments.
The members then returned to their workplaces with a vast amount of newly acquired real world knowledge, continuing to pursue the question: "How can we make ever-better cars that will put a smile on the faces of our customers?" This project has increased the number of such colleagues, and I have great hopes for them.
This year, we embark on the challenge presented by African roads. I have previously felt when driving across Africa, cars are not merely a means of transport; instead, they are indispensable to both enable people to go about their daily routines and also protect their lives. What type of "cherished vehicle" do people genuinely desire? What sort of happiness do cars give them?
Every day, as the team members square their focus on handling African roads and vehicles, they will consider in what ways--and to what extent--cars are necessary. I have great hopes that they will discover first-hand the power that cars possess, and return home with new discoveries about making ever-better cars.
For this stage of the 5 Continents Drive, we welcome members from Suzuki, Hino, and Toyota Auto Body to drive the African continent with us. Each company has its own field of specialty, developed over a number of years. Driving the same roads and confronting the difficulties as a united team, we will be able to learn things we never knew from each other--and I believe that this will enable us to more fully understand the roads of Africa.
I want to create ever-better cars. I want to ensure that cars are fun and loved. My wish is that members who share these ambitions will learn a great deal on African roads, and return safe and sound.
It excites me to think that we will then proceed on the path to creating ever-better cars together."
Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporation
(1) The 5 Continents Drive is being carried out under the umbrella of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Toyota employees from Japan and local affiliates take the wheels of the cars themselves and drive the roads used daily by our customers, with the aim of developing human resources that can flourish in the making of "ever-better cars". The project sees the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 as a milestone, and will endeavor to continue its activities until this major event takes place. (2) For the purpose of the 5 Continents Drive Project, North America and Latin America are categorized as one continent ("the Americas").
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is the global mobility company that introduced the Prius hybrid-electric car in 1997 and the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, Mirai, in 2014. Headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, Toyota has been making cars since 1937. Today, Toyota proudly employs 370,000 employees in communities around the world. Together, they build around 10 million vehicles per year in 29 countries, from mainstream cars and premium vehicles to mini-vehicles and commercial trucks, and sell them in more than 170 countries under the brands Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com.