Toyota remains quiet on BEVs

Lack of information comes despite firm's declared sales targets

Toyota remains quiet on BEVs
Toyota has promised a six-BEV line-up in Europe by 2026

Anyone hoping to gain clarity on Japanese automaker Toyota's EV strategy will come away from the OEM's third quarter results call disappointed, as the automaker revised its BEV sales targets downward and gave little mention of its fledgling EV line-up.

Toyota says that its total vehicle sales for the period amounted to 7,295,000 units, revealing that 35.9pc of these were "electrified vehicles". This is the company's term for any partly-electric car — which in its case are overwhelmingly HEVs.

Toyota tells shareholders it expects to have sold 123,000 BEVs, 141,000 PHEVs, and just under 3.6mn HEVs by the end of fiscal year 2024. These targets, with the exception of the HEV guidance, are revised slightly downward compared to the guidance offered on the previous earnings call.

The company has not changed its overall 'electrified vehicle' sales forecast for the period however, as it expects to compensate for the downgraded BEV and PHEV guidance with more HEV sales.

Toyota has long been dubbed a laggard when it comes to BEVs, and it recently reported that only 3pc of its European sales were BEVs in 2024, amounting to just over 30,000 units.

Furthermore, over 11,000 of these units were its all-electric commercial van offerings, the Proace and Proace City, with the remainder accounted for by the firm's first and only pure electric car, the BZ4X SUV.

The company is upgrading the BZ4X after admitting that the BEV was struggling in a competitive marketplace.

Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda has claimed that BEV penetration will never exceed 30pc globally, while also continuing to talk up the prospects of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Automotive analyst and journalist Keith Williams is one of many industry commentators expressing scepticism about Toyota's EV strategy.

"The argument by Toyota that hybrids result in reduced emissions is contestable," he says. "Toyota is resisting electrification even as companies like Tesla and BYD driving the BEV revolution are doing so successfully."
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Williams notes that in China in 2023 BEVs made up 26pc of new car sales and Norway has 80pc BEV sales.

On its most recent earnings call, Toyota declared ongoing confidence in its strategy to focus on HEV sales in the Chinese market.

Despite the lack of updates given on BEVs, Toyota stated in December that it aims to sell 250,000 BEVs in Europe alone, on the back of a six BEV line-up by 2026. But no further details on the strategy have been announced since then.

US progress

The firm did, though, unveil plans to build a new three-row SUV for the US market as part of an additional $1.3bn investment at its Toyota Kentucky plant.

The new investment supports previously announced future BEV assembly at thne facility. It also adds a battery pack assembly line to the facility, with batteries to be supplied by Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina.

“Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to vehicle electrification and further reinvesting in our U.S. operations,” says Kerry Creech, president of Toyota Kentucky.

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