TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) and Lexus held “New Year’s Greetings From Morizo” at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2024. The video is available below.
New Year’s Greetings From Morizo
Good morning. I am Morizo. I look forward to sharing this year, as well, with you.
First, I would like to offer my prayers for those who lost their lives in the massive Noto Peninsula earthquake and in the airplane accident, as well as express my deepest sympathies to all others affected by those disasters.
On New Year’s Day, I watched the first sunrise of the year at Fuji Speedway and cheered during the New Year Ekiden road running relay, after which the joy of winning was cut short due to 2024 beginning with a tremendous earthquake.
At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake 13 years ago, someone in the affected area said to me: “I hope that regions, the people of companies, and others that are doing well will do their best to support Japan, including by making up for what the affected areas cannot do.”
Today, Japan has stalwart automotive frontlines operated by 5.5 million people who “move cars”. Together with those 5.5 million colleagues, I, Morizo, will strive to bring smiles back to the faces of the disaster-affected as soon as possible.
Now is the time to cease such things as confrontation, division, dispute, and slander and to help each other and say “Thank you” to one another with a smile. I believe that this is a time that requires us to display such maturity.
Tokyo Auto Salon is a festival at which car lovers can surround themselves with cars and smiles. The smiles born here will lead to energizing Japan’s automotive industry.
I would like to link that energy to the vitality of Japan as a whole again this year. Today, with such a desire, I hope you will allow me to extend to you my greetings for the new year.
Now, please watch this video.
“Car lovers! Let’s build the future together!”
Together with these words, I will keep on moving. Because we’re car lovers, we can build the future… My desire to enjoy cars makes me want to try various technologies… This is something that I’m serious about.
So, in 2023, over one year, Morizo accomplished three things!
The first was creating future colleagues.
As shown in the video a moment ago, we provided an occasion for children, who will play the main roles in the future, to feel that cars are fun.
If the sounds, smells, and clouds of dust experienced on school grounds become fun memories, our effort could be called a success.
Judging from the smiling faces of the children in the cars, I believe it was a success.
This year, as well, I will compete in races and rallies across Japan. I would like to be able to stop by elementary schools again while I’m where I will be.
Although I am not able to give baseball gloves to every elementary school in Japan (like Major League Baseball star Shohei Otani recently did), I hope to be able to deliver at least a few fun car memories.
The second was creating colleagues across national borders.
As was also shown in the video, car festivals were held in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand. I, myself, went to the ones in the Philippines and Thailand and can say that the people there are surely passionate about cars!
I believe that there are expectations in every country for the automotive industry. Those expectations are why such passion exists.
On the other hand, in Japan, I feel that instead of having high expectations, people are saying things that make me think that maybe they want to let this industry decline.
How to climb the carbon neutrality mountain depends on the country and region. However, isn’t a desire for cars what we all need?
I found out that, overseas, we have many colleagues who have such a passionate desire. This year, as well, I want to search for such colleagues and meet them.
Frankly, being able to meet such colleagues energizes me. I wonder how much I will even be in Japan this year.
Going off topic for a bit, did you notice that the title is different from the usual? Today, this is not a GAZOO Racing press conference. We made it into an occasion for sharing greetings from Morizo.
Last year, I stepped down as president and also as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
At last, I think that I have been able to get back to being an ordinary older guy who loves cars. I had always dreamed of the day when I could be like this.
Tokyo Auto Salon is a festival at which car lovers proudly show off their beloved cars. That’s the kind of festival it is. It had been my dream to participate in this festival as an ordinary older guy who loves cars.
That is why I have chosen to convey my greetings not as a president or chairman but as Morizo. I also proudly have on display six beloved vehicles.
A Yamaha Vino, Suzuki Jimny, and Lexus LBX, all the way to a Century… As well as my trusted partners, Corolla and iQ. I imagine that these all have you wondering about them. I would like to talk about each one, but please let me save that for a talk session that will come later.
Now, getting back to what I was talking about…
The third thing I did last year was take action to protect colleagues for the future.
Believing that battery electric vehicles do not represent the only way to achieve carbon neutrality, we have been working on hydrogen-engine initiatives since three years ago.
Last year, we tried liquid hydrogen and drove a vehicle using it at Le Mans. Why put so much effort into such? It’s because we can’t build the future unless we do it with our colleagues.
Many of our 5.5 million colleagues make engine parts. These people support Japan and have the skills to make the Japan of tomorrow strong. We must never lose these people.
However, there seem to be cases in which engine-related people cannot borrow money from a bank these days. That should not happen, and I want to do something about it.
Therefore, I made a certain request to Toyota.
There is still a role for engines as a practical means of achieving carbon neutrality! So, let’s refine engine technology! Let’s start such a project!
President (Koji) Sato and other members of management agreed with my proposal, and a project to promote engine development anew was set in motion within Toyota.
Engines in this day and age? It might sound like we are going backward, but that’s not at all the case. Doing so is needed for moving toward the future.
To all those who have made engines up until now, let’s continue to make engines! Everyone’s help will continue to be needed! I will never let all the work you’ve all done so far go to waste!
I hope that this message will be firmly heard by our colleagues.
However, Toyota is a large company, so it might take much more time. I ask that you look forward to it.
Like me, some people think: “I love engines!” and “Their sounds and smells are irresistible!” Some people like battery EVs. Some say that now is the time for hybrids. And then there are plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen.
The motive force could be anything!
There is always one truth. The only enemy is carbon!
Knowing that… At any rate, there is something that I want to convey to all who love cars!
The future is something for all of us to build together! I want to build the future together with all car lovers! Let’s all build the future together!
Thank you very much.