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Accelerating Future Responses to Next-generation Vehicles and Cutting-edge Technologies

October, 2017

Under a dynamic and companywide, cross-functional specialized organizational structure, Toyota Tsusho is combining its unique strengths to take on the challenges of technological innovation and new business and provide new added value.

New Initiatives to Address the Innovations of the Next Forms of Mobility

Companywide, cross-functional specialized organization established to prepare for the transformation of the automobile industry

The automobile industry is currently undergoing a once-in-a-century period of transformation. In conjunction with technological innovations, including image recognition technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI), it is possible to use sensors to acquire various data, such as information about other vehicles and on nearby road conditions, and as a result, rapid advances are being made in the practical application of advanced safety technologies and automated driving technologies. At the same time, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs), and electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more commonplace, and lighter materials are being used in automobile bodies with aluminum, carbon fiber, and resin starting to become prominent as replacements for steel with the aim of improving environmental performance. These major changes are all taking place at the same time, and the value and ideal of automobiles are about to enter a new era.

While these changes represent a threat to Toyota Tsusho, which has positioned the Mobility domain as a core domain, they are also opportunities to definitively expand business even further than in the past. To focus on future generations and prepare for rapid responses to change, in April 2017 we reviewed organizations and established the NEXT Mobility Development Department under the authority of an Executive Vice President and the CTO as a company-wide, cross-functional specialized organization.

Toyota Tsusho’s Next Mobility Development Structure

The NEXT Mobility Development Department will carry out companywide next mobility activities and develop and execute business relating to next-generation vehicles in areas that go beyond the products divisions. As a cross-functional project, the department will establish working groups for each activity topic, and an executive officer will serve as leader and provide guidance. The four activity topics that the department will address are materials replacement and recycling, which will cover weight reduction, new materials, and the battery materials business; next-generation vehicle services, which includes autonomous driving in advanced safety technologies and promoting the introduction of next-generation vehicles; EV components, which covers electric power supply and storage using renewable energy, infrastructure development, and supply of electronic parts and components for EVs, PHVs, and fuel cell vehicles; and smart factories, which will seek to create a plant IoT, including higher productivity through plant visualization and predictive maintenance as well as advanced network security. The working groups will be rearranged and new groups may be formed according to the activity topics and items. In addition, specialized organizations will be established in relevant products divisions and will collaborate with the working groups to develop business. As a result of the creation of this organi-zational structure, the NEXT Mobility Development Department, working groups, product division specialized organizations, and other groups can collaborate to enable integrated measures and make maximum use of our business assets and knowledge as a general trading company that is active in a wide range of business fields.

New Initiatives Regarding Cutting-edge Technological Innovations

NEXT Technology Fund Created and NEXT Technology Fund Department Established

Toyota Tsusho established the NEXT Technology Fund in April 2017 to make more dynamic investments in innovative technologies, patents, and new services, not just in the automotive segment but in all areas where the company conducts business, so that we can respond promptly to innovative technological changes and to foster the seeds of growth that will drive the next generation of the com-pany. The NEXT Technology Fund Department, which will perform administrative functions for the fund, was also established. An investment framework was created, and speedy investment deci-sions are made through deliberations by three officers, with the CTO serving as chairperson.

Objectives

  • Invest in new technologies and new services that will drive business in the future to contribute to the identification and development of new business.
  • Make decisions regarding investments with an awareness of timeliness in business areas in which markets have not yet developed.
  • Foster organizational culture and develop human resources with a high degree of sensitivity to and broad perspective on technology areas.
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