New Toyota PH chief gets to know Manila via commute

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Atsuhiro Okamoto, the new president of Toyota Motor Philippines, took an extra mile to get to know Manila by riding a jeep, bus, train, FX, and even a tricycle.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 28) — The newly-appointed chief of Toyota Motor Philippines is on a mission to get to know his new market as he transferred to Manila.

Atsuhiro Okamoto was formally introduced as the new TMP president last week, replacing Satoru Suzuki after four years in the post.

Okamoto took a different tack as he wanted to familiarize himself with his new assignment. In a now-viral post, the Japanese executive explored Manila on foot, and insisted on taking all modes of public transport which commuters take on a daily basis.

"During my first week in the Philippines, I decided to do 'Genchi Genbutsu,' or to 'Go and See' the daily struggles of Filipino commuters," Okamoto said.

Photos of the Toyota official showed him boarding a jeep, riding the jampacked Metro Rail Transit, and even squeezing himself into a tricycle in busy Tondo. He also tried out a bus ride and even a UV Express all in his first seven days in the country. It's far from the comfort of driving his own car, which is mostly what his company is about.

"For me, it's a good learning experience. I realize that unlike Japan or Singapore, the Philippines’ current mass transport system is not enough to accommodate the huge number of daily commuters," the newly-minted Toyota official added. "I would like Toyota to take part in this big challenge to upgrade the quality of life for many Filipinos."

Toyota is the biggest carmaker in the Philippines in terms of sales, with a factory located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna producing Innova and Vios units. The Japanese brands operates in the Philippines through its partnership with the late George Ty's GT Capital Holdings, Inc., which owns a 51 percent stake in TMP.