Kiyosu, Japan—The parts that Toyota Group supplier Toyoda Gosei Co. is best known for—plastic mouldings, sealing strips, brake hoses and resin interior parts—are hardly the high-tech stuff of future technology. But the Japanese giant says it will not be sidelined in the coming era of autonomous driving and electrification.
Toyoda Gosei president Naoki Miyazaki says those industry changes present opportunities, even for a relatively low-tech supplier. His plan? Branch out into new products.
Miyazaki is targeting such next-generation technologies as sensor-compatible body paneling, advanced airbags and lightweight resin parts.
The company even sees potential in the evolution of its current products, such as weatherstripping.
"Some people say Toyoda Gosei has nothing to do with electrification or autonomous driving because we are a resin and rubber supplier," Miyazaki said in an interview at his global headquarters outside Nagoya.
"We think electrification and autonomous driving present an opportunity for us," he said. "Most car makers are very busy with R&D into electrification and autonomous driving. But they don't have enough resources. They are thinking of delegating certain areas to suppliers."
Toyoda Gosei has begun developing new radiator grilles and front fascia body panels that accommodate bundles of sensors that will go into next-generation safety systems.