Japanese auto giant Toyota is attaching greater importance to the world’s largest auto market and plans to separate its Chinese businesses from those in the Asia region.
This decision is part of Toyota’s planning to implement changes in executive responsibility and its organisational structure, which will take effect on January 1.
“China Region and Asia Region have been split in view of the importance of the China market and the Asia markets, respectively,” the carmaker said.
Tarsuro Ueda, former CEO of Toyota China and Asia, will be appointed as the new CEO of Toyota China.
The separate units will help leaders implement more rapid decision-making and accelerate implementation capacity, according to the carmaker.
In the first 10 months of this year, Toyota sold 8.05 million cars worldwide, an increase of 1.6 per cent year-on-year.
The company’s sales in China jumped 7.2 per cent from January to October, totalling 1.31 million units and showing the increasing importance of the Chinese market.
China’s auto market has seen slumping sales for 16 consecutive months. Sales for the first 10 months of the year totalled 20.65 million units, with a 9.7 per cent year-on-year decline.
The company plans to improve its annual production capacity in China to two million units by next year, which will almost double this year’s output.
Toyota has made great efforts to deepen its roots in China and explore the emerging new energy vehicle market with its Chinese partners this year.
In electrification, it plans to launch 10 pure electric vehicles by 2025 and expects half of its global sales to come from electrified cars, including hybrids, by the year.
In July, Toyota announced new partnerships with China’s power battery producer CATL and BYD to focus on the research and development (R&D) on the new energy vehicle battery.
Last month, BYD and Toyota said they planned to set up a 50-50 joint venture to design and develop battery electric cars as efforts to produce zero-emissions vehicles. The joint venture will be set up next year in China.
The joint venture aims to develop vehicles that run solely on batteries, rather than plug-in hybrid or gasoline-electric vehicles, which also have a combustion engine. The joint venture will develop battery-electric sedans and SUVs, which will be sold under the Toyota brand in China before 2025.
BYD senior vice-president Wang Bo said the company’s strong competitiveness in the pure electric market and R&D capability will integrate with Toyota’s advantages in quality and safety and the two will launch pure electric cars that meet the demands of customers as soon as possible.
Toyota’s premium arm, Lexus, has enjoyed a strong performance in China this year. The company held the global premiere of its first ever electric model, the UX 300e SUV, at the Guangzhou auto show last month.
Last month, Lexus sold 19,300 vehicles in China, increasing 16.5 per cent year-on-year. Its sales in the first 11 months totalled 180,200 in the country.
As China increases support for fuel-cell vehicles, Toyota also plans to develop and launch fuel-cell car models with its joint ventures with Guangzhou-based carmaker GAC and FAW Group in China.
The carmaker also joined hands with Foton Motor Group and Beijing Sino-Hytec, a high-tech enterprise focusing on the R&D and industrialisation of hydrogen fuel cell engines.
The cooperation will see the hydrogen-powered buses produced by Foton Motor coupled with SinoHytec’s hydrogen fuel cell power system, which uses Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell stack and other components and parts.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK