When Toyota came to the Philippines in 1961, no one knew they’d make it this far. Truth is, they didn’t even make it at all. Gone before people ever knew they were here, it took a great deal of perseverance and a special kind of partnership for the country’s #1 to start year one.
In his return in ’88, Shoichiro Toyoda (son of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda) met a man who believed in his then 51-year old startup, a man whose own company slogan ‘you’re in good hands’, seemingly reflects the relationship between Toyota and its vehicle owners, Metrobank head honcho, Dr. George S.K. Ty.
In their first year, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sold only a total of 15,000 vehicles. Fast-forward to last year, the company that also claimed their 16th straight Triple Crown in 2017 (number 1 in passenger, commercial and overall vehicle sales) sold a staggering 184,000 units.
To celebrate their 30th anniversary, no less than three presidents shared the stage at the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Manila – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Toyota Motor Corporation president and rock and roll motoring executive, Akio Toyoda (son of Shoichiro Toyoda) and TMP president, Satoru Suzuki.
“Over the past three decades, Toyota has become a household name on the road and the homes of many Filipino families. This speaks volumes about the impact of the company not only in moving goods and people, but also in charting the course of our country’s future. Toyota Motor Philippines is not only a leader in the production of quality vehicles. It is also a major driver of our economy, encouraging investments that spur national development. It is also a key generator of employment, nurturing the skills and talents of over 55,000 employees,” said President Duterte.
Staying true to his hip style, Akio – who flew in straight from Germany and had an Instagram post to prove it – took a selfie with the crowd composed of members of the media, goernment personalities and stakeholders after expressing his deepest gratitude to the Filipino people. “Tonight, however, I would like to reserve my most sincere and deepest thanks for all the people of the Philippines. You warmly accepted us into your homes,” added Toyoda before declaring a solemn promise to keep and strengthen the business of Toyota in the country.
TMP Vice-Chairman, Alfred Ty, was absolutely beaming with pride as he announced that domestic sales of Toyota units has lodged TMP firmly at 9th in terms of the automaker’s global sales. He credits this to the company’s unwavering focus in achieving its goal. “As we celebrate our 30th year in the Philippines, TMP has never been more dedicated in transporting the Filipino people as we continue to provide ‘Always better cars, Always better lives’. As we foresee the future to be very bright and exciting, we in Toyota have shifted our mindset from simply dreaming big, but to reach for the ‘impossible’,” said Ty.
To commemorate the event, TMP donated more than 30 brand-new vehicles to the Philippine government – 10 Innovas, 20 units of the Vios and several Hi-Aces.
It was a rather swift celebration considering the utter importance and weight of the occasion, but it proudly showed the values that make Toyota what it is today. After 30 years in the business, TMP goes beyond automaking to find better ways of moving Filipinos not just to their destination but to the future of mobility.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan