Toyota Motor Corp. is known as the current largest carmaker in the world. It is likewise known for producing and selling highly dependable and efficient vehicles. Toyota, however, is also known around the world as a maker of boring vehicles as well as a company with boring executives and officers.
But Toyota’s current leader and heir, President Akio Toyoda, is moving heaven and earth to shed the carmaker’s boring personality -- by making sure the world knows him as a car-loving fashion-forward top honcho.
This is not entirely surprising, as the industry also has some celebrity chief executives like Chrysler's Lee Iacocca and Nissan-Renault’s Carlos Ghosn. Toyota seems moving that way too. In the past few weeks, Toyoda donned a race suit to pilot the Lexus LFA super car at the 24-hour race in Germany's Nuerburgring circuit. He also attended a Lexus party in New York donning a hipster bow-tie and retro glasses.
His assistants, meanwhile, have their hands busy with putting up a barrage of news and updates on the "Toyota President's Office" Facebook page. Toyoda set up his own Facebook page after getting inspired by the popularity of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's page.
"I am at the top of Toyota and drive cars myself," Toyoda said in May 2013 when discussing the role he could play in to promote and develop the Lexus brand, adding that he was “born with this name.”
Toyoda has been overseeing the brand directly overseeing since April 2013. Toyota earned its name around the world by producing high quality cars that comes with high value and efficiency.
Toyota’s marketing campaign aides are now being built Toyoda, which seems unconventional since the Japanese carmaker is known for team play, and not for outsized personalities. But the carmaker’s real star is not Toyoda himself, but the "Toyota Way," which is the production and management philosophy handed down to next generations from founder Kiichiro Toyoda.