Toyota to say goodbye after Paris 2024. TOYOTA-EUROPE

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota will not renew its contract it signed in 2015 and will end its top-level sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the Paris 2024 Games.

The world's biggest carmaker will not renew the contract it signed with the IOC in 2015, although it plans to continue supporting athletes from a different angle and with different strategies.

Toyota is rumoured to want to keep its main sponsorship deal with the International Paralympic Committee, which is not looked upon favourably by the IOC as it is unusual to have separate sponsors for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Japanese company, founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1926 and set to overtake General Motors (USA) as the world's biggest automaker by sales in 2021 after 90 years, reportedly paid more than 100 billion yen ($637 million) for the deal with the world's leading Olympic body, which covered four Olympic Games: two summer and two winter (Pyeongchang 2018 in South Korea, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and the upcoming Paris 2024).

The reason for the non-renewal is believed to be a disagreement with the IOC's policy on Olympic athletes and the use of the money provided, although this has not been confirmed by either the company or the IOC.

During the last Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, Toyota withdrew its Olympic advertising in Japan in response to the country's strong sentiment against hosting the Games due to corruption scandals and the pandemic. The Tokyo Games were plagued by corruption scandals involving local sponsorship and contract awards.

For the Paris Games, Toyota is expected to provide more than 3,000 cars, including its Mirai fuel cell vehicle, as part of efforts to showcase its green technologies to the world.

Toyota will provide a fleet of more than 2,650 electrified vehicles and 700 electric last-mile mobility solutions for the Games, underscoring its commitment to making Paris 2024 an innovative showcase for inclusive and sustainable mobility. In addition to providing the official fleet vehicles for Paris 2024, Toyota has also been supporting Paris 2024 staff with its innovative KINTO Share car-sharing service since September 2023.

Toyota is committed to making Paris 2024 the most innovative showcase of inclusive and sustainable mobility ever. This goal remains, which is why the company will continue to support the Paralympics in the future, but independently of the Olympic Games.

"At Toyota, we are delighted to embark on this journey to Paris 2024, which exemplifies our commitment to creating sustainable mobility solutions," said Yoshihiro Nakata, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, a few months ago.

Nakata added at the time: "Our multi-path strategy to carbon neutrality, combining various electrified vehicles, is at the heart of the Toyota fleet that will be made available to the Olympic and Paralympic family at Paris 2024. Toyota will bring a 100 per cent electrified passenger car fleet to Paris, in line with our commitment to reduce carbon emissions".

Anne-Sophie Voumard, Managing Director of IOC Television & Marketing Services, said: "We are proud that our partner Toyota is committed to supporting our sustainability efforts at the Olympic Games. Together, we are driving innovation and promoting excellence on and off the field of play, leaving a positive legacy for generations to come".

Beyond the formalities and the contractual alliance, the relationship between the car manufacturer and the IOC seems to have broken down, at least for the time being. It remains to be seen whether the organisation of the Paris Games, with a very different audience and expectations from those of Tokyo 2020 (which were held behind closed doors due to the pandemic), will change these perspectives.

The IOC generates 91% of its income from the sale of broadcasting rights (61%) and sponsorship (30%), and Toyota's departure would be a significant loss that Bach and his team will need to replace quickly.

The IOC took in $7.6 billion (€ 6.98 billion) in the last four-year cycle that ended with the Tokyo Games. The 15 so-called top sponsors paid more than $2 billion during that period. This figure is expected to reach $3 billion (€ 2.75 billion) in the next cycle. They include ABInBev, Airbnb, Alibaba, Allianz, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung and Visa.

Japan officially spent $13 billion (€ 11.97 billion) on the Tokyo Games, at least half of which was public money, although a government audit suggested the real cost was twice as much, something unforgivable in Japanese society. Of the money spent, it received only about $1.8 billion (€ 1.66 billion) from the IOC.