If running an auto company is like operating a restaurant, Toyota has a full business while Tesla is just a chef with some recipes, the Japanese’ firms president says.

Akio Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, made the comparison during Toyota’s second-quarter financial presentation in November while discussing plans to electrify its entire lineup.

“What we have and what Tesla doesn’t have is the units in operation – more than 100 million vehicles out in the world,” he said, before launching into the food-service simile.

“Tesla’s business, if I can say, is a business is like a — you can use analogy of kitchen and a chef, I think,” he continued. “The kitchen and the chef, they have not created a real business yet or a real world yet, but they’re trying to trade the recipes. And the chef is saying that, ‘Well, our recipe is going to become the standard of the world in the future.’ I think that is the kind of business they have.”

Toyota, on the other hand, has “a real kitchen” and a “real chef, too,” Toyoda said, a claim furthered by the firm’s doubling of its full-year profit outlook. For comparison, Tesla says it will build 500,000 cars this year, while Toyota’s annual sales topped 10 million worldwide in 2019. Tesla has also to turn an annual profit yet.

Despite the sales discrepancy, Tesla’s garnered a searing market value of nearly double Toyota’s. That’s not lost on Toyoda.

“And of course, in looking at the current share price, we are losing against their valuation,” he said. “But when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers.”

Beyond Toyota, a plethora of legacy automakers have slowly begun to put full-force behind their electric vehicle development. Germany’s Volkswagen, whose executives have also been outspoken about Tesla’s lead in the industry.


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