A video on the Toyota Times website shows the carmaker’s president at the controls of the GR Supra sports car. Akio Toyoda emits a boy-racer cackle before skidding the vehicle into an arc of smoking rubber. “I love cars that make a racket and reek of petrol,” he yells.

Jarring for a company whose flagship is the Prius hybrid, whose environmental ambitions outpace most of the global industry’s and whose looming challenge is to usher Japan’s most important company out of the human-controlled, combustion-engine era and into whatever artificially intelligent cleanliness replaces that.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.