In case you’re still unaware, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has a new president. His name is Mr. Atsuhiro Okamoto–the successor of Mr. Satoru Suzuki, who has been TMP’s president since 2016. Under Suzuki-san, TMP has achieved numerous feats, such as the brand’s commitment and participation in the government’s CARS program, along with holding the world premiere of an all-new vehicle in the Philippines for the first time, which is the Toyota Hiace. Also, despite the challenging automotive landscape during his tenure, TMP was able to maintain its leadership in the automotive industry under his leadership.
Saying that Okamoto-san has big shoes to fill isn’t an understatement, yet he seems unfazed by the challenge. He officially stepped into his role as president since the start of 2020, and immediately, it proved to be a very memorable one for him. His first few weeks in the country have apparently been characterized by the fury of the Taal Volcano‘s eruption. He says:
“This eruption has affected many Filipinos and even our plant operations. On the other hand, I have seen how strong Filipinos are, the great Filipino spirit of “Bayanihan” and resilience have been very evident and shown by everyone. I also saw how the Filipinos’ value of “Malasakit” is clearly manifested, as we express our concern to the company and to our fellowmen. So as TMP’s new president, I would like to reiterate in all TMP Team Members, Dealers and Suppliers, the importance of dedicating our work to contribute to society. We would like to continuously provide ever-better cars, ever-better mobility services, and solutions to enhance the quality of life of Filipinos.”
Indeed, he recognizes that the economic contributions of the country’s number one automaker. As the largest producer and importer of vehicles, TMP employs over 55,000 people when combined with its system of dealers and suppliers.
However, Toyota also seeks to be a mobility company and not just an automaker in the coming years, which is why Okamoto-san isn’t simply interested in selling cars. During his first few weeks in the Philippines, Okamoto-san also decided to apply the principles of “Genchi Genbutsu,” literally translated as “Go and See.” What did he learn from his experience?
“I realize that unlike Japan or Singapore, the Philippines’ current mass transport system is not enough to accommodate the huge number of daily commuters. I would like Toyota to take part in this big challenge to upgrade the quality of life for many Filipinos.”
A hard feat, definitely, but not something that’s impossible to do. Coincidentally, Toyota’s “Start Your Impossible” campaign aims to do just that–which is to provide mobility for all. Mobility isn’t limited to just cars. It covers a wide variety of solutions to let everyone–including people with disabilities, to move around their own home or to basically any point they desire.
This is basically what the Japanese automaker is doing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Whether that event will push through or not is a story that’s worth another article. In the meantime, I’ll simply show you the vehicles and robots that Toyota has developed to help athletes and visitors during the program.
Quite comprehensive isn’t it? What Toyota has done is to provide multiple solutions for the visitor’s and athlete’s mobility needs. Okamoto-san’s vision is for TMP to also do the same for the Philippines’ public transportation infrastructure. A noble thing to do indeed, and hopefully one that successfully comes into fruition.
It will be an exciting time ahead for TMP under Mr. Atsuhiro Okamoto’s leadership. His ability to keep tabs on what’s happening outside the corporate walls of Toyota and blending into what society does is something that’s more akin to what a well-versed politician would do. It’s one thing to keep on selling cars, but it takes a whole set of skills to be able to contribute to society’s overall improvement.