Japanese automakers join forces to take on disruption across segments

by Ajit Dalvi 24 Nov 2021


The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which on November 18 announced its new executive structure from May 2022, made two key announcements. One was about extending Chairman Akio Toyoda’s term for two years from next May. The other was about JAMA’s vice-chairmen. The three current vice-chairmen, from Honda, Yamaha, and Isuzu, are to be joined by two new vice-chairmen, one from Nissan and one from Suzuki.

The candidates for the posts of vice chairmen are Honda President Toshihiro Mibe, Nissan President Makoto Uchida, Isuzu President Masanori Katayama, Suzuki President Toshihiro Suzuki, Yamaha President Yoshihiro Hidaka, and Seiichi Nagatsuka, of the JAMA secretariat.  

The common thread though is the coming together or joining of forces of all these Japanese vehicle manufacturers to take up disruptive change in the automotive world.

JAMA Chairman Akio Toyoda: "The strength of the Japanese automotive industry is that it is a ‘full line-up’ industry that has passenger cars, CVs, mini-vehicles, and motorcycles, backed by companies with excellent technologies in all genres."

Pooling in strengths and leveraging opportunities
Chairman Akio Toyoda, who is the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, spoke about the need for the Japanese auto industry to combine resources and leverage its strengths across segments. He said: “I believe that the strength of the Japanese automotive industry is that it is a ‘full line-up’ industry that has passenger cars, commercial vehicles, mini-vehicles, and motorcycles, backed by companies with excellent technologies in all genres. However, amid such, each of those companies face unique challenges. For example, to disseminate CASE technologies and services, it will be important to start deployment through commercial vehicles. Also, to seriously strive to achieve carbon neutrality, it is essential to address mini-vehicles, which collectively support daily lives as the ‘people’s car’ of Japan, and motorcycles, which enrich diversity in mobility.

“There is a limit to what one company can do on its own. I believe that we are now in a time in which it is very important to move forward with cooperation among all of us.”

“We are in a time when major changes, such as striving to achieve carbon neutrality, are needed. I have decided to accept an extension of my term in the hope that my own experience in dealing with crises might be useful in overcoming our current difficult situation. I will do my best for the future of the automotive industry and the future of Japan. I humbly request your continued support of our automotive industry as we move forward together.”

Yamaha Motor Corp’s Yoshihiro Hidaka
“In this era of profound transformation, such as with the advent of CASE and initiatives for achieving carbon neutrality, we are facing many challenges that must be addressed by the whole of Japanese industry.

The motorcycle industry is a global business in which Japanese brands account for about half of the approximately 63 million units in the annual global market. Like the automotive industry, it is a Japanese industry that has competitive strengths, even on the world stage.

We will continue to do our utmost to meet the diverse mobility needs of people by maintaining this competitiveness and responding with our colleagues in the motorcycle industry as well as with those in the automotive industry to the major challenges we now face.”

Isuzu’s Masanori Katayama
“With an overwhelming sense of ownership and a sense of cooperation for resolving social issues, our four heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers have had repeated discussions on firmly fulfilling our social responsibilities, such as the provision of safety and protecting the environment, through our truck and bus products, which form part of the social infrastructure that supports daily life.

With our new executive structure, we are determined to work together with a stronger-than-ever “all Japan” stance and achieve greater innovation. "

Honda Motor Co’s Toshihiro Mibe
“I believe that carbon neutrality is a theme that needs to be addressed by maximizing our full line-up of diversified technologies and approaches undergoing research and development, as well as by maximizing the strengths of each company and field.

We – not only automobile manufacturers, but the entire automotive industry as a whole – will play a leading role in striving with a sense of speed and by leveraging our respective areas of expertise to achieve the very challenging goal of realizing carbon neutrality by 2050.

It very much encourages me that Chairman Toyoda, who has demonstrated strong leadership in resolutely transforming JAMA and bringing the industry together, will continue as (JAMA) chairman.”

Nissan Motor’s Makoto Uchida
“The strength of the Japanese automobile industry lies in its ability to produce innovative ideas that create new value and in the high level of technology that makes such ideas possible. Each company has thus far grown and developed through friendly competition, making the most of their individuality.

On the other hand, the business environment surrounding us will drastically change going forward. I believe that it is important in such times for each of us to continue to improve our separate capabilities and assume a stance for transcending corporate boundaries to face common challenges together.

I look forward to lending a hand as we work together to rally the Japanese automotive industry and increase Japan’s presence in the world."

Suzuki Motor Corp’s Toshihiro Suzuki
“I am extremely happy that a vice-chairman has been chosen from the category of mini-vehicles, as it signifies the high expectations placed on mini-vehicles in this country. At the same time, I feel a great sense of responsibility.

Collectively as “the people’s car”, mini-vehicles not only support people’s daily lives but are also expected to contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality as a form of mobility that can support the last mile of logistics. I look forward to working together with all JAMA members to make proposals and take actions not only for vehicles but also for infrastructure development to achieve carbon neutrality.”

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