Rewarded with a Smile by Exceeding Your Expectations
I would like to begin by offering thanks for the continued support and understanding of all of our stakeholders. In addition, on behalf of everyone at Toyota I would like to express my wishes for the restful peace of all those we lost to the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to offer our sincerest sympathies to all who have suffered through this great tragedy.
When I reflect on the past year, I am touched by the support offered by so many of our customers and stakeholders as we dealt with the ongoing effects of the global financial crisis, as well as product quality and safety issues. I offer my sincerest gratitude.
Learning from these experiences, I continued to ask myself, "What kind of company do we want Toyota to be? What kind of company should Toyota be?" I realized that Toyota should strive to be a company that people choose, and that people are happy to have chosen. The Global Vision we announced in March is strongly imbued with these ideas.
The Great East Japan Earthquake struck two days after we announced our Global Vision. Our employees entered the stricken areas in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and began providing support, working together with local residents to reconstruct and restore communities. Upon viewing the situation after the disaster, our support teams assessed the situation, quickly worked out what was best for the communities and immediately set about their tasks accordingly. This represents the very spirit of Toyota's "power of the workplace"— an asset built up and handed down through 70 years of Toyota history. Priority was given to rescuing and preserving life, then to the restoration of the communities, with restarting production only considered after the situation stabilized.
The Toyota rescue teams made quick, difficult decisions on the spot. "Our biggest priority in rescue is saving human lives," they said. "After that, we can see about recovery and getting manufacturing back on line." These teams were able to make swift decisions and go into action immediately. This on-the-spot decisionmaking is typical of Toyota, and it is part of the storehouse of know-how and assets we have accrued over the 70 years of our existence. I was proud of these Toyota people.
This disaster also presented us with a chance to rethink the very concept of automobiles.
Right after the quake, we heard from people in the area saying "Even though gasoline is in short supply, our Prius gives us the mobility we need," and "While the electric power was out, we could charge our cell phones and watch TV for information without even turning the engine on," and "The light from our cell phone is not very bright, but it was so comforting in the dark of the disaster area." I recognized anew the importance of promoting and expanding our future development efforts.
Humankind faces urgent issues concerning both the global environment and energy. In short, if automobiles are to remain a vital mode of transportation for people and society over the next century, developing the next generation of environmental vehicles is the most important thing we can do.
At Toyota, we will naturally hone our hybrid technologies, and in 2012, we will market plug-in hybrids that can be charged from household current and electric vehicles as well. In other words, we have programs that address the entire spectrum of automotive power.
We also announced a tie-up with Microsoft Corporation in April and one with Salesforce.com in May. At Toyota, we believe we can achieve a low-carbon, energy-efficient motorized society by fusing automotive, home and information technology. We're confident this will accelerate our transformation into the mobile society of the future.
We will keep striving to be a company that is rewarded with a smile by exceeding expectations of customers the world over. All our efforts focus on that goal, and we hope we can count on your continued support.
President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Chairman, Toyota Environment Committee