• SHARE

Toyota said Friday its global sales in April doubled from a year earlier to 859,448 units, a record high for the month — and doubled output, despite a semiconductor shortage. How does it do it? Features from the Chunichi Shimbun may offer some insight.

Perhaps the hands-on style of the company’s president, Akio Toyoda, has something to do with it. Known as the “master driver” at Toyota, aka Morizo, he test-drives — and sometimes crashes — new car models as a final check before they hit showrooms.

A Toyota Land Cruiser is used to transport a camel in the United Arab Emirates. | TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. / VIA CHUNICHI SHIMBUN
A Toyota Land Cruiser is used to transport a camel in the United Arab Emirates. | TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. / VIA CHUNICHI SHIMBUN

The Chunichi follows the story of how the Lexus LC sports coupe, written off even by one of its engineers as unrealistic, finally got off the ground thanks to Toyoda pushing the team beyond its limits. “I’ll take responsibility if you fail,” he said. “Go for it.”

Toyota’s longest-running model is the workhorse Land Cruiser, a lifeline for many of its owners around the globe. Much kudos for its durability must go to “missionary of Land Cruiser” Sadayoshi Koyari, who traveled the world to see owners test the vehicle to breaking point.

However, all good things must come to an end, and Toyota has closed several factories in the past few years, foreign and domestic. But no matter the reason for the closure, the Chunichi reports, the company always makes sure to do it the “Toyota way.”

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)