The auto industry is “set to make its biggest transformation in 100 years.” declared the head of Toyota Motor Co., during a meeting with industry leaders, Wednesday.
With global demand for oil rapidly approaching the point where it exceeds production capacity, Akio Toyoda, heir to the giant automaker’s founding family, warned that the industry is “back where we began, 100 years ago,” when the fledgling car business was looking for the most effective form of power.
“It calls for true breakthroughs,” said Toyoda, who recently assumed his post as president of Toyota. “We must reinvent the automobile.”
Speaking to several 100 industry leaders attending the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan, Toyoda said this reinvention will require a higher degree of cooperation among erstwhile competitors.
Toyota has tried to position itself at the forefront in the switch to greener power, a transformation similar to what pioneers like Henry Ford first faced, when it was unclear whether gasoline, steam or battery power would take the lead. But while petroleum ultimately won out, Toyoda asserted that, in the future, “There (will be) no one solution…but the need for many, because energy solutions that work for Traverse City may not be the best for Shanghai or Sydney or Sao Paolo.