Toyoda secures rare third term as head of Japanese automotive lobby

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese auto lobby said Thursday it has chosen Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda for a rare third term as chairman to lead the industry through a period of seismic change and zero-emission challenges.

Toyoda, a member of the founding family of Toyota Motor Corp, has served as the head of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association since 2018. Most of the former presidents have served only one two-year term.

“I accepted the job after receiving advice that (the industry) needs continuity (…) to overcome this difficult stage,” Toyoda said in an online press conference.

As governments around the world tighten emissions regulations to curb global warming, the auto industry is under pressure to go zero emissions, but there is disagreement on how to get there.

At the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last week, six major automakers, including General Motors, Ford Motor, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz of Daimler AG, signed a declaration to phase out fossil-fueled cars by 2040.

Toyota has refused to join this group, arguing that much of the world is not ready for a transition to electric vehicles. Another notable absence was the German Volkswagen.

While some brands have announced plans to go all-electric in the coming years, Toyota has advocated a mix of technologies, including hydrogen and plug-in hybrids, as the most practical approach.

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki, writing by Kantaro Komiya; editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Lincoln Feast)

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