Commemorating the illustrious journey of two decades of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) in India, the 5 Continents Drive embarked on its journey in India, with a promise to make ever-better cars together – For Today and Tomorrow. The 5 Continents Drive is a ‘Genchi Genbutsu’ project (where employees go to the source to get the facts) carried out under the umbrella of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.

Launched in Australia in 2014, so far, the 5 Continents Drive project has covered four of the world’s Continents and moved to Asia for its final stage, earlier this year. As part of the project, Toyota employees drive vehicles under various conditions of the 5 Continents: Australia, America (North & Latin), Europe, Africa and Asia through 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, representing the five rings in the Olympic symbol.

The 5 Continent Drive flag-off ceremony took place at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s plant at Bidadi in Karnataka. The drive was flagged-off by chief-guests, Mr. Yoichi Minamiyama, General Manager, GAZOO Racing Company, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Mr. Atsuhiro Okamoto, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP), along with Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), and Mr. N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director, TKM, amidst other dignitaries.

From Bangalore, the convoy with employees from TMC & TKM along with its partners, will travel through the States of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, and reach its destination – New Delhi, where the drive will culminate late September, 2019. The convoy will be driving Toyota vehicles from the company’s existing model line-up in India.

Speaking on the launch of the project in India, Mr. Yoichi Minamiyama said: “TOYOTA GAZOO Racing firmly believes that, ‘On the road we learn how to make ever-better cars.’ 5 Continents Drive Project was formulated to put this maxim to the test. Driven by the philosophy of ‘Genchi Genbutsu’, this project enables us to go behind the wheels under harsh road conditions to gain experience and knowledge of the world’s roads, listen to customer feedback, encounter global cultures first-hand, and together find solutions to numerous problems and challenges. Such experiences further empower us to hone our intuition for making ever-better cars in a manner that cannot be replicated at a desk or on test courses, and thereby contribute to the development of human resources.”

“Since the launch of the 5 Continent Drive Project in 2014, around 520 participants have travelled across continents to take back learnings from the roads to each workplace, in each area, breaking down corporate walls, and learning from the roads. With the commencement of our journey In India, we look forward to understanding the characteristics of the Indian roads and the challenges that will come along with it,” he continued.

Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Atsuhiro Okamoto said: “India is a very important market for Toyota and it is with this intent that we wanted to begin the second leg of the 5 Continents Asia Drive in India. Asia is the last stage of Toyota 5 Continents Drive Project. In February 2019, the team embarked to its starting point: the Middle East. Continuing on, the teams will drive east through Asia covering countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and culminating in Vietnam by November 2019.”

“What makes our India journey even more special is besides Toyota employees, members from Suzuki Motor Corporation / MSIL will also participate in our quest to discover the real India. Furthermore, the core of the Toyota 5 Continents Drive is reflecting and embodying Toyota’s global corporate initiative ‘Start Your Impossible’ which aims to inspire people, including our employees and stand against challenges and the impossible. We look forward to a fruitful drive in India and wish the team the very best in this journey”, he concluded.

Welcoming the 5 Continents Drive Project team to India, Mr. Masakazu Yoshimura said: “All through our journey of two decades in India, it has been our constant endeavor to achieve sustainable growth for our business, employees and our partners. We have always challenged ourselves to create new ways to connect and serve our customers. We believe this project will play an instrumental role in the overall development of our human resources providing them with the knowledge and skill to serve our customers in a better way.”

“With the philosophy of ‘Roads train people & people build cars’, the 5 Continents Drive convoy will be driving across India’s diverse locations, listening to customer feedback, understanding the nature of roads, reviewing our vehicle standards, recognizing the value of reliability, durability & comfort, acquiring the knowledge through ‘Genchi Genbutsu’ and thereby continue making ever better cars in India”, he added.

Further sharing his thoughts on the project and what it means to Toyota in India, Mr. N. Raja said: “Toyota Kirloskar Motor always looks at adding value and fostering customer experience to newer heights through its renowned QDR (Quality, Durability and Reliability) philosophy and this project is a step closer towards achieving our goal of delivering ever-better cars and catering to the ever-evolving needs of our customers. The learning garnered through this project will help us strengthen our current offerings and provide future-ready solutions. We are delighted to welcome the 5 Continents Drive Project to India as this project will not only enable Toyota engineers to understand our country better but will also give an opportunity to our dealers and customers in India to interact with them. We would like to thank the team for this opportunity and wish them the very best for the drive”.

In this project, Toyota aims to not only develop employees who are behind the wheel but also inspire its partners and other internal & external stakeholders. The driving teams will share their knowledge acquired with other employees through internal reports once the Asia leg of the drive is over.