Toyota CEO Toyoda: Tesla Isn’t A Real Car-Do You Agree?

Wow! Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is throwing shade at Tesla. Other companies have had their own ways to debase Tesla but claiming that “Tesla isn’t a real car company” is a new one. Is this desperation or does Toyota know something nobody else knows? Is Tesla a real car? Do you agree?

Mostly Japanese higher-ups don’t comment on competitors and their products. So with Toyoda swiping at Tesla by saying it is somehow manufacturing a lesser product he is crossing a thin line for an executive. 

“What Toyota has are a real kitchen and a real chef”

Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda | Getty

The online briefing given today found Toyoda saying that Toyota lags behind both Tesla’s share price and market cap. But he also added that Tesla has a ways to go before it will be on par with Toyota’s scale and experience. “Tesla says that its recipe will be the standard in the future, but what Toyota has are a real kitchen and a real chef. We are losing when it comes to the share price, but when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers,” he said, from Automotive News Europe. 

The sticking point for Toyota is that it was the head of reliable, affordable cars. Then, along comes Tesla and it’s 2020 overtaking of Toyota’s market cap. It is now considered the world’s most valuable automaker. Since July it has been consistently ahead of Toyota. 

“They aren’t really making something that’s real, people are just buying the recipe”

The CEOs of Tesla and Toyota shaking hands
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda shake hands | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Toyoda says that Toyota has “picky customers” and that is why they come back to Toyota cars each time they look for something new. “They aren’t really making something that’s real, people are just buying the recipe. We have the kitchen and chef, and we make real food,” Toyoda said.

The problem with this is that Toyota lags behind in the EV race. While it led the industry with hybrid models it has rested on its laurels too long. If you don’t have something new in the EV field to talk about then why not bash the competition? When Toyota finally releases its new EV in a couple of years these comments will be forgotten and irrelevant. 

Toyota is conspicuously absent from the EV segment

Toyota Motor Corp. logos are displayed outside one of the company's dealerships on May 8, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
The Toyota emblem | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Toyota Once Partnered With Tesla to Make a Disappointing Electric RAV4

With Toyota making different models for so many segments it is odd in some ways that it never jumped into the electric car field a few years ago. Instead, it is conspicuously absent from the EV segment? Maybe it would whittle down its current huge model lineup and instead knock out an EV or three. 

Some of Tesla’s success has been to steer clear of trying to be in so many different segments with so many different options. Juggling so many models in many segments, maybe that kept Toyota’s eyes off of the ball?