Tesla Isn’t “Making Something That’s Real” but We Are, Toyota Boss Says

Toyota boss with Elon Musk in 2010 29 photos
Photo: Patrick Tehan / Mercury News
Tesla Inc., a relative newcomer compared to Toyota Motor Corp., has now double the market value Toyota has. That definitely qualifies as a lead but, when it comes to cooking real food, Toyota is the only one who has the chefs and the proper cooking tools to get it done.
In a strange culinary analogy, Toyota President Akio Toyoda has commented on Tesla’s lead on the market, spurred on by investors’ interest in all-electric vehicles. The comments were made during Friday’s online video call regarding Toyota’s latest profit figures, as reported by Bloomberg.

Toyoda acknowledged Tesla’s lead in terms of share value (Tesla is now worth $400 billion, while Toyota’s market value is at over $200 billion) and even conceded that they could learn from Elon Musk’s company in certain departments. That said, Tesla is only selling “recipes” and not actual food.

Toyoda compared Tesla’s 367,500 cars sold last year to Toyota’s 10.74 million units for the same timeframe. Investor interest has driven Tesla shares sky-high but, when it comes to customers, they can only get a full menu with Toyota, Toyoda explained, launching into the culinary analogy.

“We are losing when it comes to the share price,” he said. “But when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers.”

“Tesla says that their recipe will be the standard in the future, but what Toyota has is a real kitchen and a real chef,” Toyoda continued. “They aren’t really making something that’s real, people are just buying the recipe. We have the kitchen and chef, and we make real food.”

He didn’t elaborate on what exactly he meant by Tesla selling recipes and not actual cars (pardon, food), but he was clear on the fact that Toyota was superior in terms of delivering multiple options for the picky customers. A little something for every taste, if you will – just not much in terms of the all-electric variety, which is Tesla’s only option.

As for what Toyota could learn from the much-younger carmaker and new rival, it has to do with generating profits from EVs, renewable energy products and software updates.
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Editor's note: Pictured in the gallery, the Model X "recipe" from Tesla

About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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