The Japanese automaker's CEO has some interesting words.
Up until very recently, Toyota was the world's most valuable automaker. That changed in July when Tesla took the top prize when after its value soared past $400 billion. Although some analysts believe that value to be inflated and that it will eventually drop, Toyota understandably didn't like losing to an automaker founded only in 2003. Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who is also the grandson of the company's founder, spoke last week to Bloomberg regarding the new reality and his words were, shall we say, interesting.
"Tesla says that their recipe will be the standard in the future, but what Toyota has is a real kitchen and a real chef," Toyoda said. "They aren't really making something that's real, people are just buying the recipe," he added regarding his cooking analogy. "We have the kitchen and chef, and we make real food."
Toyota has fallen behind most of the industry when it comes to all-electric vehicles, preferring instead to stick with now outdated but affordable hybrid technologies. The Toyota Prius is proof. There have even been some rumors claiming the Prius is on borrowed time because it's really no longer necessary since other models, like the Corolla and Camry, also offer hybrid variants. The ethos of the Prius no longer exists.
Toyota is aware of this and has a new plan to increase battery-electric vehicle product volume. Another area where Toyoda admits Tesla has helped to open their eyes is the potential to profit from things like software updates, renewable energy products (not flamethrowers), and the fact battery-electrics, in general, are profitable.
Best example: the Tesla Model 3, which has become the world's best-selling battery-electric vehicle. Regardless of what Toyoda or any other automaker executive thinks, Tesla has changed the rules of the game and did so extremely quickly. Many were caught off-guard by Tesla's rise and are now racing to catch up. General Motors, for example, recently announced plans to speed up its EV product timeline. Time is money, after all.
Toyoda, however, remains optimistic about the future of his company. "We are losing when it comes to the share price," he said. "But when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers."