Toyota President Akio Toyoda has told Reuters that the company may consider mergers or acquisitions in order to procure advanced new automotive technologies such as those associated with autonomous driving.

At an annual shareholders meeting Toyoda seems to have taken a more strident attitude to new tech areas that threaten to disrupt the automotive business.

"The auto industry is undergoing big changes, and issues and ideas which we may have thought were far off in the future could affect us tomorrow. That's why we need to go on the offensive while also preserving our areas of strength," he said, according to Reuters.

"We need to consider all our options, including M&A, to survive in the future," he added.

Analysts note that Toyota has started to take a more open approach to working with partners that can offer technological or business values that could help it in the longer term.

Although Toyota leads in hybrids, it is generally considered to be lagging in full EV tech and late last year decided to set up a dedicated division to work on electric vehicles, a strategic move widely perceived as an acknowledgment that it is well behind some other OEMs in that area, most notably arch-rival Nissan.