Toyoda has spent years remaking his company. In 2020, Toyota remained profitable, despite Covid-19. He has maintained Toyota's pace of steady development for the Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric era, and he has kicked off the construction of Woven City, a real-life prototype city of the future. He is also active in motorsports as a driver himself.
“On behalf of all 360,000 Toyota Team members around the world, thank you for this tremendous honour," said Toyoda.
"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, couldn’t be a luckier… or a more grateful CEO."
There were five finalists for this award that was created in 2018 to acknowledge and celebrate an individual who has made a significant contribution to the global automotive industry during the period January 1 to December 31, 2020. That contribution could include a significant impact to their brand or company or a significant safety, engineering, design or technical advancement.
Apart from Toyoda, the finalists rest were Pratap Bose of Tata Motors; Euisun Chung and Luc Donckerwolke of Hyundai; and Tomiko Takeuchi of Mazda.
Previous World Car Person of the Year recipients were Carlos Tavares, CEO of PSA Group (2020), the late Sergio Marchionne, CEO, FCA; chairman, CNH Industrial; and chairman and CEO, Ferrari (2019) and Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO, Volvo Car Group (2018).
The World Car Person of the Year award is just one of six awards handed out annually by the World Car Awards. The awards were inaugurated in 2003, and officially launched in January 2004, to reflect the reality of the global marketplace, as well as to recognise, reward and inspire excellence, leadership and innovation in a rapidly changing automotive industry.
The Road To The 2021 World Car Awards began on Aug 26 last year and will end with the winners’ announcement on April 20 this year.