Toyota shares hit 16-month high as shareholders endorse board, new EV strategy

People arrive to attend an annual shareholders’ meeting for Toyota Motor in the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture on June 14, 2023. Toyota is under pressure from large institutional investors for chairman Akio Toyoda to step down over his lukewarm embrace of electric vehicles.

Str | Afp | Getty Images

Toyota shares hit a 16-month high Wednesday after shareholders voted to retain Akio Toyoda as its chairman in a broad endorsement of the company’s board and renewed strategy.

Shareholders also rejected proposals to seek greater disclosures on the Japanese automaker’s climate lobbying, while also voting in favor of all 10 proposed members of the board at the company’s annual general meeting in Toyota City.

Toyota shares were up roughly 4.3% at 1.p.m local time to 2,276 Japanese yen per share — their highest level since February, 2022. They were also outperforming both the Topix and Nikkei benchmarks in Tokyo, which were both up around 1% Wednesday afternoon.

A small number of institutional investors have agitated against the reappointment of Toyoda — a grandson of the founder of Toyota Motors — on grounds that the company’s strategy of focusing on multiple fronts across hybrid, gasoline and electric vehicles has hurt their competitiveness.

The unprecedented challenges by Toyota’s shareholders this year come as Japanese companies are coming under increasing pressure to better engage its shareholders in improving capital efficiency and overall profitability.

Ahead of the meeting, the world’s largest car manufacturer said Tuesday it will introduce a full lineup of battery electric vehicles with “next generation” batteries from 2026. These will be developed and manufactured by a new EV unit called BEV Factory, which was established in May.

Toyota has a goal of achieving sales of 1.5 million all-electric vehicles per year by 2026, and selling 3.5 million all-electric vehicles annually by 2030.

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