The firm was based as textile maker Toyoda Boshoku Corp. in 1918 by Sakichi Toyoda, great-grandfather of Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda. It modified the “d” in its company identify to a “t” in 2004. Today, it ranks No. 27 on Automotive News‘ record of the highest 100 world suppliers, with world gross sales of $9.33 billion in 2021.
Its new marketing strategy counts on assembly rising demand for ride-hailing and robotaxi fleets. The technique is partially modeled on the airline enterprise. A provider’s jetliners final a few years, however the seats and interiors of these planes are continually refurbished or upgraded.
Think of a aircraft’s improve for plusher seats, semiprivate premium-class pods, newly outfitted video shows and even nicer bathrooms. Boshoku has been supplying interiors to the airline business for years. In aerospace, Chung notes, a aircraft stays in operation for 25 years — getting a brand new inside each six years or so. Toyota Boshoku needs to switch that mannequin to fleets on the bottom.
Ride-hailing and robotaxis will account for practically 40 % of the mobility market by 2030, when Level 3 and Level 4 automated driving grow to be commonplace, Toyota Boshoku predicts. Owned or leased automobiles, against this, ought to make up about 30 % of the market.
By 2050, it forecasts an much more dramatic shift, with Level 5 robotaxis making up 80 %.
The outlook is an entire flip from the unfold at present. Ride-hailing accounts for a bit greater than 10 % now, whereas robotaxis are nonetheless in improvement. Private automobiles maintain virtually 80 %.
But futuristic fleet operators are already planning their first strikes. Chinese ride-hailing big Didi eyes 1 million robotaxis in 2030. In Texas, Toyota Motor and Aurora Innovation Inc. are testing an autonomous ride-hailing fleet.
Meanwhile, Cruise and Waymo have gained permits to launch business autonomous automobile companies in California. Cruise stated the approval makes it the primary firm providing a “driverless” business ride-hailing service — seen as an important step towards a way forward for robotaxis.
All this motion will spur automakers to make automobiles to fill these fleets. Those resembling Kia Corp. are making such purpose-built automobiles a pillar of their future enlargement plans.
“The economic model is shifting toward that,” Chung stated. “We are convinced that consumers will look for products or services that will give them more time saving, more convenience, more space, more privacy, more well-being and a better user experience.”
By Chung’s estimates, at present’s human taxi driver averages 35,000 miles a 12 months, on eight-hour shifts. Level 4 autonomous robotaxis, nonetheless, may function 20 hours a day, racking up as many as 87,000 miles a 12 months — or about 522,000 miles over the robotaxi’s anticipated six-year life span.
That equates to a number of put on and tear. Says Chung: “They will probably need to change the interiors often because they will be used and abused.”
Toyota Boshoku plans to drive quantity by promoting totally different units of interiors for every automobile, resembling financial system, financial system plus, premium and bespoke. This will enable the operator to reconfigure the pod to the shopper wants of the day.
That quantity would come on prime of normal upkeep and substitute of components.
Simply put, Boshoku sees a brighter future in pod automobiles, because of fast turnover.
“Today, over the lifetime of a vehicle, you’re just stuck with one set and just use it until the end of the life cycle. In this case, you can have different retrofits,” Chung stated.
“For us, revenue will increase because for every car, we’re going to sell at least four different modules plus the replacements,” Chung stated. “We want to create new demand.”
Being tethered to Toyota Motor has its advantages in a assured income stream.
But Toyota Boshoku will get a lopsided 90 % of its income from Toyota. It wagers that if it may possibly take the lead in interiors for future mobility, it may possibly develop its buyer base past Toyota Motor to different automakers and fleet purveyors.
A diversified gross sales base will not simply profit Toyota Boshoku; it should assist Toyota Motor by giving it a stronger provider community.
“We want to be a company that grows even further, even with new customers or new segments,” Chung stated. “We want to be a company that determines its own destiny.”