Aspiring to be a company indispensable to society
Although I have been involved in the automobile industry for over 40 years as a corporate businessperson, never before have I experienced a year such as 2011 that was filled with so many ordeals.
In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck in March, the DENSO Group placed top priority on “supporting victims of the disaster” and worked in unison to promote recovery in the stricken areas. DENSO was also affected by the disaster, as buildings at several sales companies and DENSO Group companies in the Tohoku and Kanto regions were partially damaged. We also confirmed that around 600 plants operated by our suppliers were damaged. In response, we focused our utmost efforts on supporting the recovery of our suppliers and switching to alternate production. However, just six months after the earthquake, we faced yet another difficultly when extensive flooding caused increasingly severe damage in Thailand, a main hub in the Asian automobile industry. To deal with this situation, we took our best efforts to compensate for a parts shortage resulting from a disruption to the supply chain and began re-evaluating our risk management along with strengthening related structures to prepare for any major natural catastrophes.
Each time we surmount difficulties such as these, I am keenly reminded that the DENSO Group is supported by numerous stakeholders, and I reflect deeply on the importance of the words “company sustainability.” The various events that unfolded in 2011 were also a catalyst for me, together with associates, to thoroughly discuss what we must do to ensure the DENSO Group remains indispensable to society and for us to re-examine the value of our existence.
Aiming to realize a society with no traffic accidents
I believe that our existential value as a company involved in the automobile industry is to “contribute to an advanced automotive society” through manufacturing (monozukuri). An advanced automotive society will enable people to enjoy the pleasure of moving freely through mobility with virtually no traffic accidents and environmental impacts.
The first key issue for realizing such a society will thus be to eliminate traffic accidents. At present, approximately 1.3 million persons worldwide lose their lives in traffic accidents every year. Creating a society with no traffic accidents is the fervent wish of everybody involved in the automobile industry.
Since commencing research on airbag sensors in the 1970s, DENSO has commercialized numerous system products that utilize sensing technologies such as laser radars and millimeter-wave radars as well as control technologies. This has contributed in many ways to improvements in preventive safety and collision safety. In recent years, we have undertaken joint research in preventing collisions at intersections by utilizing information communication technologies. We are also proceeding with the development of technologies that monitor a driver’s physical condition and level of driving concentration and that provide any necessary warnings to the driver.
Based on these achievements, we will devote our utmost efforts to promoting the widespread use of our products and developing technologies that contribute to enhancing safety.
Striving for a society with less environmental impacts
The second key issue for the automobile industry is to reduce environmental impacts. It has been reported that CO2 accounts for approximately 80% of all emissions of greenhouse gases, a principal cause of global warming. Upon hearing the International Energy Agency’s announcement that CO2 emissions in 2011 reached an all-time high of 31.6 billion tons, I was probably not the only person who keenly felt the heavy weight of responsibility for realizing a low-carbon society.
At present, automakers aim to develop automobiles with fewer environmental impacts and are thus moving quickly to improve gasoline, diesel engines and other internal combustion engines, promote the widespread use of idle-stop systems and make advances in hybrid cars and electric vehicles. DENSO supplies basic products for powertrains for all these vehicles that help to improve fuel efficiency, cleanse exhaust emissions and reduce noise.
DENSO developed and improved most of these products from the perspective of “energy management” that strives for energy efficiency not only for individual components and units but also for the entire vehicle. These products are also useful in reducing the burden on the engine and recovering and reusing kinetic energy.
Looking to the future, environmental regulations in each country are expected to become more strict. In fulfilling our mission as a main supplier that provides basic products and systems to each automaker, the DENSO Group will further strengthen its development of products that contribute to the environmental performance of a diverse range of powertrains.
On a different front, in 2011 DENSO and home builders jointly developed a home energy management system (HEMS)*, which applies the technologies cultivated by DENSO in automobiles for the efficient integrated control of energy in people’s home living environments. As energy conservation becomes increasingly important worldwide, the development of systems that link technologies from automobiles and houses will likely serve as a major step for creating a sustainable society.
*This system performs coordinated control of household EcoCute systems, storage batteries and solar power generation systems with plug-in hybrid cars and electric vehicles for efficient power generation, recharging and energy usage.
Aspiring to be a company trusted by stakeholders
We aspire to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society through the development of advanced technologies and high-quality manufacturing (monozukuri). At the same time, we strive to be trusted by stakeholders as well as the communities where DENSO undertakes its business activities.
We are currently considering our long-term policy in the run-up to 2020 and are undertaking repeated discussions that also encompass Group associates overseas. Each and every Group associate aims to sincerely respond to the expectations of our customers, suppliers, shareholders and local communities and to be told by numerous stakeholders, “If it’s DENSO, we have a sense of reassurance.” Moreover, if all associates feel a strong sense of trust and take pride in working at DENSO, I am confident we can truly be a company that is indispensable to society.
In the future as well, we will aim to be a trustworthy company in harmony with society and move toward the realization of a society in which people and cars ideally coexist.
As we pursue these objectives, I ask for your continued support and guidance.
President and CEO