Of Car blogger
I know the title is perhaps exaggerated, but what happens at home Toyota can go further as it is the first vehicle manufacturer in the world. And, mind you, the title doesn’t concern Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of the group since 2009 who, starting April 1st, became inactive president. Grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda and son of Shoichiro Toyoda (president of the group until 1992), Akio, at the age of 66, leaves so that everything remains in his hands through the chosen successor Koji Sato. A boy with his 53 years for the japanese stylenow head of Lexus and Gazoo Racing, the sports division, who grew up in his shadow.
Sato will have to ferry the Toyota group in new electric age on which Akio made some mistakes and not only in communication, then trying to go upstream with l‘salmon instinct, but perhaps without the same conviction. At most 13 years I wrote prophetically and spoke of salmon. I dedicate the title of this Toyota to the simultaneous exit from the scene of Takeshi Uchiyamada, the engineer known as the father of Prius. At 76 he will no longer be chairman of the board of directors, of which he will however continue to be a member. A putting to rest that occasionally also happens in Japanese geriatric culture.
Uchiyamada, the last of the car guy a friend suggests, represents an era for Toyota, but also for all of us having invented the first hybrid which affected the rest of the world with the electric spark. I regret never meeting him personally. With Automotive News as late last November, Uchiyamada boasted that he contributed to the fifth generation of the Prius, arriving this year. Indeed, he claimed to be having his say on the sixth and seventh generation as well, although the sixth shouldn’t see the light before 2030. Not bad for an old gentleman who is also good with the words: “If I say something about the Prius, everyone thinks that I they have to to listen. So I say nothing. Whenever he starts to take shape, I stay out of it ”.
End of an era. And that it was. Before the story of the salmon I had always told here on Car blogger how Uchiyamada had invented the Prius by bringing back scenes from Engines of change by Paul Ingrassia, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1993 who unfortunately passed away prematurely, as a mutual friend who had given me the book informed me some time ago. Uchiyamada was chosen because as an engineer he dealt with something completely different and it would have been easier hijack it on an absolutely unconventional project. First meeting with his team on February 1, 1994. Fears, the impossible, his bosses, his team, the car that won’t start. Read everything here, highly recommend. And then you decide if the end of an era is exaggerated.
PS. Exaggerated (and forgiven) is certainly Uchiyamada, when ad Automotive News he says he bought the last one stylish Prius, but “his first baby is the cutest”. False: she was really ugly. “Beauty will save the world,” says Prince Myshkin ne The idiot by Fiodor Dostoyevsky. There ugliness Will Prius Save the World, Prince Uchiyamada?