Toyota North America President describes “an industry that looks to the future” to kick off Canadian International Auto Show

TOYOTA CANADA - Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Canadian International Auto Show, Yoshi Inaba, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., described how the auto sector is "entering an era of innovation that will significantly alter transportation in the twenty-first century," as it builds on a number of stunning gains over the last few years.

"Today's hybrids emit 66 per cent fewer smog-forming emissions," said Inaba. "Fuel economy is increasing at incredible rates, and in addition to advances in fuel efficiency and reducing environmental impact, our advances in communication technology are unprecedented."

Inaba noted that today's cars are well on the way to meeting the needs of connected customers.

"In-car electronics are becoming more compatible with the smartphones that have become the communications hubs of our lives. The key is providing these connected activities in a way that won't distract drivers."

Inaba added that while all manufacturers are striving to meet customer needs, some of the items Toyota is working on include, better voice recognition systems, new concepts in touch pads, cameras to replace inner and outer rear-view mirrors, new glass technologies that improve visibility in bad weather while blocking harmful sun rays, and "even steering wheel health monitors."

The auto economy, he said, is unique in that it creates, builds and adapts faster than any other mature industry, and it represents the hope and home of the next generation of engineering and design technology, offering young Canadians the opportunity to advance and leave their mark.

"The car business is a big business. It is vital to the well-being and quality of life for Canadians. It drives innovation. It drives growth."

Inaba noted that new vehicle sales in North America will increase by about six per cent in 2012, which means about 13.6 million units sold in the United States and a little over 1.6 million in Canada.

"Outstanding new cars are hitting the market one after another. Everyone knows they need vehicles to get stuff done, to drive to and from work or to car-pool kids. But a car is more than a transportation appliance. At its very best, it's a love affair. It's design that moves and inspires you; performance that thrills you; and technology and craftsmanship that simply amazes you. After some challenging years and a lot of soul-searching, automakers have rediscovered their passion. Collectively, we've put the car back in the car business."