This years Toyota stand at the Guangzhou Auto Show was over shadowed by a tree. Toyota had decided to fit a large tree into the middle of its stand along with some fake grass to show its green credentials. The tree did not take too well to the 30 + degree heat on the opening day of the auto show and was rapidly dropping its leaves. Toyota executives took to the stage to announce that Toyota was a long lasting friend of the Chinese people and announced plans to further production of certain models, the Qin electric car concept will see Chinese production as will two new sub brands from Toyota with its respective partners FAW and Guangzhou Auto.
This morning it was announced that Toyota China would change its name to China Toyota to show that Toyota puts China first. According to an anonymous Toyota China executive quoted by the China Industry Daily Toyota China would have easily met its yearly sales goal if it wasn’t for the Diao Yu Island diplomatic spat. “If we didn’t have the Diao Yu Island incident, we would have met our yearly sales goal ahead of time” Sales are down at Toyota over 50% in October, September was also down some 48%. The same source went onto say “If the Japanese brands meet 80% of their sales goal this year, I will be impressed.”
Toyota’s Tian Zhi Ming says that the name change is needed to improve Toyota’s standing in the Chinese market, by putting China first they will improve their strategy for the Chinese market. Although Toyota is the world’s biggest auto manufacturer Toyota products have not caught on in China in the same way they have in North America, Toyota China have focused on larger vehicles such as sedans and SUV’s rather than more compact vehicles for which they are famed. Toyota has established new R&D centers in China which will continue to produce tailored vehicles for the Chinese market, the road to redemption is a long one but Toyota are slowly making steps.