TOYOTA 5 CONTINENTS DRIVE TO COMPLETE ITS GLOBAL JOURNEY IN ASIA IN 2019 – 2020
The Toyota 5 Continents Drive is gearing up for the final stage of the project, departing from the Middle East next spring to cover Asia during 2019 and 2020. Launched in 2014, the drive has already crossed Australia, the Americas and Europe, and completed its African leg in Durban, South Africa, in November.
On the African stage, 76 people covered more than 6,500 miles, experiencing the very diverse and harsh local conditions in which Toyota vehicles are driven and hearing first-hand feedback from customers. The team included Toyota employees and representatives from Suzuki Motor Corporation and Toyota Auto Body. As a result of their travels, they were able to better understand what it means to make “ever-better cars” and share their opinions with their colleagues.
Many sections of the route were on rough, unpaved and uneven roads, some of them through desert terrain and at high altitude. The challenging conditions made the team recognise the value of reliability, durability and comfort in vehicle design. Even on paved surfaces, the African drive presented a unique environment with long straights, frequent animal crossings, sudden large potholes, speed bumps and overtaking by large numbers of heavy, overloaded trucks. These factors impressed on the team the importance of braking performance, high-speed stability and power and torque.
The 5 Continents Drive is a genchi genbutsu project (the concept of employees going to the source to find out the facts), carried out under the umbrella of Toyota Gazoo Racing. Toyota employees join up with their local affiliates and drive a range of cars themselves on roads used daily by their customers. By participating in the project, team members increase their knowledge of the world’s roads, listen to the views of customers, experience world cultures first-hand and together find solutions to many different problems and challenges. Such experiences help them hone their intuition for making ever-better cars in way that can’t be replicated sitting at a desk or driving on a test track, thus developing their personal skills.
The 5 Continents Drive began in Australia in 2014, then moved to North America in 2015, Latin America in 2016, Europe in 2017 and Africa in 2018. Since the start, 556 Toyota members from Japan and worldwide have covered almost 62,000 miles in 399 days of driving. In spring 2019, the project will move to Asia for its final stage, starting from the Middle East and concluding in Japan in 2020.