TOYOTA CITY — Toyota may be late to the electric vehicle race. But the world's biggest automaker is embarking on an urgent and radical reboot of its famed production machine that executives say will help it leapfrog Tesla and other rivals in just a few short years.
The overhaul hinges on a host of breakthrough technologies that are firmly rooted in its stalwart Toyota Production System but turbocharged with digital tools for the EV era.
The approach — which includes cars that drive themselves through plants, hyperautomated factories, the use of megacasting techniques and far fewer workers — isn't just happy talk.
Toyota Motor's production engineers are implementing the techniques in test bed factories across the company's Toyota City stronghold in Japan's industrial heartland.
The pace of change is picking up as Toyota rushes to ready the manufacturing makeover for a new generation of Tesla-fighting EVs it promises to start delivering in 2026.