Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Chairman Akio Toyoda said Thursday the Japanese auto industry will welcome Apple Inc., provided the U.S. tech giant is fully responsible for its services, including the maintenance and scrapping of its vehicles.
“If a tech firm joins our industry, it means the auto sector remains a potential market. (A newcomer) will bring new options for customers,” Toyoda, who is also president of Toyota Motor Corp, said in an online press conference.
Toyoda made his first remarks on Apple’s potential moves after Reuters reported in December that the U.S tech giant aims to begin production of its own electric vehicles as early as 2024. Apple has reportedly asked some automakers to mass produce EVs it will design.
But he added that the lifespan of a car is 30 or 40 years, and a new entrant must be “determined” to be fully responsible for their cars until they are scrapped.
Asked about the auto industry’s recent shift to electrification, Toyoda urged the Japanese government to boost electricity generated by renewable energies to reduce carbon emissions.
“Greener energies are indispensable,” he said, pointing out that 75 percent of electricity in Japan is generated by fossil fuels such as coal and oil, he said.
Toyoda said producing EVs in Japan leads to emitting more CO2 than manufacturing them in Europe, where more renewable energies are used to generate electricity when calculated based on a life-cycle assessment, which analyzes the potential environmental impacts of products or services during their entire life cycle.
Expressing his concern that car production bases would possibly be moved to countries with less CO2 emissions in the future amid growing awareness for the environment, Toyoda said up to 1 million jobs in the auto industry could be lost if the export of vehicles from Japan was restricted due to the country’s high carbon footprint.
On Thursday, Japan marked the 10th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. Toyoda stressed the auto industry has contributed to reviving the regional economy by adding about 8,000 jobs in the Tohoku region during the 10 years, he said.