The world’s biggest car company, Toyota, is not giving up on combustion engines.

    It is renewing its commitment to piston power thanks to a directive from company chairman, and long-term ‘car guy’, Akio Toyoda.

    He wants to protect millions of jobs in Japan and to also provide a range of choices for future car buyers.

    “To all those who have made engines up until now, let’s continue to make engines,” Toyoda said at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 in Tokyo.

    “Everyone’s help will continue to be needed. I will never let all the work you’ve all done so far go to waste.”

    The Auto Salon is an annual showcase for fast cars and modified vehicles, which Toyota used to reveal an update to the production GR Yaris originally championed by Toyoda.

    “Tokyo Auto Salon is a festival at which car lovers can surround themselves with cars and smiles. The smiles born here will lead to energising Japan’s automotive industry,” he said.

    “Because we’re car lovers, we can build the future. My desire to enjoy cars makes me want to try various technologies. This is something that I’m serious about.”

    He switched focus to the employees of Toyota and its giant network of supplier companies in Japan.

    “Many of our 5.5 million colleagues make engine parts. These people support Japan and have the skills to make the Japan of tomorrow strong. We must never lose these people,” he said.

    “However, there seem to be cases in which engine-related people cannot borrow money from a bank these days. That should not happen, and I want to do something about it.”

    Toyoda continued by again highlighting his company’s multi-path plan for future mobility.

    “How to climb the carbon neutrality mountain depends on the country and region. However, isn’t a desire for cars what we all need?,” he said.

    “I found out that, overseas, we have many colleagues who have such a passionate desire.”

    He then highlighted some of Toyota’s work to extend the life of combustion engines.

    “Believing that battery electric vehicles do not represent the only way to achieve carbon neutrality, we have been working on hydrogen-engine initiatives since three years ago.

    “Last year, we tried liquid hydrogen and drove a vehicle using it at Le Mans. Why put so much effort into such? It’s because we can’t build the future unless we do it with our colleagues.

    “There is still a role for engines as a practical means of achieving carbon neutrality. So, let’s refine engine technology. Let’s start such a project.

    “However, Toyota is a large company, so it might take much more time. I ask that you look forward to it.

    “Like me, some people think ‘I love engines’ and ‘Their sounds and smells are irresistible’.

    “Some people like battery EVs. Some say that now is the time for hybrids. And then there are plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen.

    “The motive force could be anything. There is always one truth. The only enemy is carbon,” Toyoda said.

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

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