Brazil’s vice-president shares an X post featuring Goku and Pikachu to thank Toyota for its $2.2 billion hybrid car investment

Geraldo Alckmin, Brazil’s Vice-President, took an interesting approach to commemorate a major investment from Toyota Motor. On Tuesday, the Japanese carmaker announced that it would invest 11 billion reais ($2.2 billion) in its Brazil operations by 2030, and develop a flex hybrid vehicle specifically for the Brazilian market.

“Thank you very much for your partnership, Toyota!” Alckmin posted on X, formerly Twitter. The attached photo was more striking: Alckmin in a kimono, standing behind Mt. Fuji, a pagoda, and an array of Japanese anime characters, like Naruto, Goku (from the anime “Dragon Ball”), and Pikachu. The photo even features a character from the 1980s anime “Saint Seiya,” which took off in Brazil when it aired in 1994.

In his post, Alckmin said that Toyota’s investment will directly create 2,000 new jobs, and indirectly create an additional 8,000 jobs, by 2030.

As part of its investment, Toyota will expand its factories in the cities of Porto Feliz, which will start building engines with hybrid systems by 2025, and Sorocaba, which will start assembling batteries by 2026.

Toyota not alone

The Japanese automaker is not the only company pumping money into Latin America’s largest economy. General Motors, Volkswagen, and Hyundai have also announced investments in Brazil this year. All three automakers have factories in the country.

EV giant BYD has also started work on a Brazil plant, which will be operational by the end of 2024.

Investments in Brazil’s auto industry are flowing after the country’s government unveiled a policy to reduce carbon emissions from its automotive fleet. The government is offering companies tax incentives to encourage investments in decarbonization.

Toyota is a pioneer in the hybrid vehicle market, with chairman Akio Toyoda often promoting them over fully-electric vehicles. Toyoda is skeptical of the push towards full electrification, instead saying there are mutiple pathways to carbon neutrality. That bet may have paid off, as Toyota boasts strong hybrid sales even as the rest of the EV market slows down.

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