The honor was bestowed by the World Car Awards jury, a panel of more than 90 distinguished international journalists.
The World Car Awards announced: “Akio Toyoda is the charismatic President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, where he has spent years successfully remaking his company. In 2020, under his leadership, Toyota remained profitable, despite COVID-19, thus protecting jobs worldwide. He has maintained Toyota’s steady pace of development for the Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE) era and has initiated construction of the Woven City, an exciting, real-life prototype city of the future. All while actively participating in motorsports himself, as a driver.”
Responding to the World Car Awards, President Toyoda said: “On behalf of all 360,000 Toyota Team members around the world, thank you for this tremendous honor. If you don’t mind, however, I would like to change this award from car ‘person’ of the year to car ‘people’ of the year, because it’s the collective effort of all our global employees, retailers and suppliers that has truly made Toyota what it is today. And I for one could not be a luckier, or more grateful CEO.”
Thanking and recognizing the contributions of the entire automotive industry, he continued: “At Toyota we are very fortunate that we were able to protect the employment of our team members during COVID-19 and continue our work to meet the future challenge of our industry. As a company we are committed to creating new ways to support the well-being of our planet and people everywhere.
“This has been a difficult period in the history of the world. But it has also reminded us that people are what matters most. And if we at Toyota can contribute some measure of happiness to their lives, it will be my never-ending goal to do just that.”
Akio Toyoda joined TMC in 1984, having graduated from Keio University with a degree in law and a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College in the USA. After working in many different areas of the business in Japan and overseas, he joined the TMC board of directors in 2000. Subsequently he held further senior and executive vice president roles before becoming TMC President in 2009.
The World Car Person of the Year award was created in 2018 to acknowledge and celebrate an individual who has made a significant contribution to the global automotive industry during the preceding year. It is one of six awards presented annually by the World Car Awards program, established in 2003.