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Toyota warns of  'life or death' battle with upstart tech firms

Toyota’s president has underlined the danger technology companies present to established car makers as the Japanese business reported a jump in turnover and profits.
Akio Toyoda, president of the automotive giant spelled out the dangers faced by Toyota and its rivals from the changing transport market and new entrants to the field. 
“Technology companies, who are our new rivals, with speed many times greater than our own and backed by abundant funding, are continuing to aggressively invest in new technologies,” he said.
“The automotive industry is hurtling into an era of profound transformation, the likes of which come only once every 100 years. With even our rivals and the rules of competition also changing, a life-or-death battle has begun in a world of unknowns.”
Toyota battles with Germany's Volkswagen Group for the title of the world's biggest car business.
Toyota warns of  'life or death' battle with upstart tech firms

Akio Toyoda warned about the 'abundant' financing Toyota's technology rivals have
The company posted revenues 6.5pc higher at 23.4 trillion yen (?16bn) on sales flat at 8.96m vehicles. Profits for the year to end of March surged 36.2pc to 2.4 trillion yen, largely driven by the yen’s weakness, which boosted profits on cars sold abroad, and cost-cutting measures.
The company is forecasting a 15pc profit fall for the coming year as the yen strengthens. It is slashing costs but increasing investment in new technologies and fields as well as forming new alliances.
Toyota, which introduced the first mass-market hybrid car with its Prius and is also a strong backer of hydrogen fuel cells, would not rush to get technological breakthroughs on the road, he added. 
“What is more important than being the first to introduce new technologies to the world is developing technologies that can most contribute to the realisation of a society of mobility in which all people can move freely, safely, and enjoyably,” Mr Toyoda said.
Toyota warns of  'life or death' battle with upstart tech firms

Toyota introduced the hybrid car to the mass market with its Prius model
Last week, fears were raised about Toyota making further investments in the UK because of concerns a Brexit deal would not allow cars to be exported to Europe tariff-free. 
Business Secretary Greg Clark said that a customs partnership deal was crucial to protect “just-in-time” manufacturing - when factories receive goods only when they are needed to maximise efficiency and very few components are held in stock.
He raised concerns that foreign firms could locate new factories in Europe rather than in the UK, warning that some 3,500 jobs at Toyota’s plants in Derbyshire and North Wales could be under threat.
“I was talking this week to the global president of Toyota motors,” Mr Clark said. “They are making a big decision as to where the next motor plant should be in Europe.
“We have a very successful one in North Wales, but there are choices as to whether that should be located on the continent.”
Shares in Toyota rose 3pc in response to the results.
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