What a guy!

Toyota global CEO named 2021 World Car Person of the year

The award aims to celebrate individuals who have achieved extraordinary feats within the automotive industry

09 April 2021 - 10:10 By Timeslive Reporter
Akio Toyoda who only a few days ago participated in the Olympic Torch Relay has been named 2021 World Car Person.
Akio Toyoda who only a few days ago participated in the Olympic Torch Relay has been named 2021 World Car Person.
Image: Supplied

Ninety-three distinguished international journalists on the World Car Awards jury panel have voted Akio Toyoda, president and CEO, Toyota Motor Corporation, as the 2021 World Car Person of the Year.

He is lauded for steering Toyota to remain profitable, despite Covid-19, and thus protecting jobs worldwide.

“He has maintained Toyota's pace of steady development for the Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric era, and he has initiated construction of the Woven City, an exciting real-life prototype city of the future, all while actively participating in motorsports himself, as a driver,” says the report by WCA.

The award was created in 2018 to acknowledge and celebrate an individual who has made a significant contribution to the global automotive industry during the period January 1 to December 31, 2020. That contribution could include a significant impact to their brand or company or a significant safety, engineering, design or technical advancement.

He was chosen ahead of Pratap Bose, vice-president, global design at Tata Motors, Euisun Chung, chair, Hyundai Motor Group; Luc Donkerwolke, chief creative officer, Hyundai Motor Group, and Tomiko Takeuchi, programme manager, MX-30, Mazda Motor Corporation.

“At Toyota we are very fortunate that we were able to protect the employment of our team members during Covid and to continue our work to meet the future challenges of our industry. As a company, we are dedicated to providing mobility for all … but we are equally committed to creating new ways to support the wellbeing of our planet and people everywhere,” said the president who spear-headed the exciting stream of new models the company is churning out, injecting the zest which had been missed since the brand’s eighties heydays.  

Toyoda, who is the great grandson of Toyota Motors founder Kiichiro Toyoda, said, “On behalf of all 360,000 Toyota Team members around the world, thank you for this tremendous honour! If you don’t mind, however, I would like to change this award from car “person” of the year, to car “people” of the year because it’s the collective effort of all our global employees, retailers and suppliers that has truly made Toyota what it is today. And I for one, couldn’t be a luckier … or a more grateful CEO.

“Thank you again for this awardand to my fellow car lovers, see you on the track,” said the charismatic president with a penchant for speed.