Nakata with the new family electric Jeep concept, which will arrive in Toyota/Toyota showrooms next year
In recent months, Volkswagen has laid off workers at its electric vehicle plant in Germany, Honda and General Motors have liquidated a joint project to develop a low-cost electric street, and Ford has canceled construction of electric vehicle battery plants in the United States and Turkey. Even Tesla failed to meet its production forecasts in the third quarter of this year.
Against this backdrop, the message of the 2023 Kanshiki conference stood out, where Toyota unveiled plans to launch six new electric models by 2026 in Europe, including a family Jeep, a crossover-sedan, a large crossover, a sports car and a new saloon from the luxury division, Lexus. Akio Toyoda, Toyota's chairman and former CEO and president for the past decade and a half, has chosen a different path from Elon Musk's to push for emissions reductions. He is the man who initiated the development of the Prius Hybrid in the 1990s, whose propulsion system combining gasoline and electric engines became the company's flagship technology. Toyota's messages have been for years that the electric technology is immature and that audiences are still not interested in it in large numbers.
Now that most of the auto industry is putting pressure on the brakes of electric cars, is Toyota giving gas?
"We're continuing with exactly the same approach we've always taken," Yoshiro Nakata, Toyota Europe's president and CEO, told Walla. "We never said we were against trams, it was a misunderstanding. The competitors declared that they would reach 100% electric vehicles on this and another date. We have developed the new trams so that we can offer them to customers who prefer such cars, in line with our commitment to offer each customer the mobility solution that suits them. And for every country: what suits Norway (where trams account for about 90% of the new car market) is not necessarily suitable for other countries. That's why we offer electric cars alongside hybrids, hydrogen, diesel and light hybrids, and gasoline at the same time. There is no single technology that fits 100% of the preferences and needs of all customers."
The European auto industry, on the other hand, is working and has already begun to launch ultra-cheap electric cars, such as the Citroën e-C3 and Volkswagen ID.2, in part to compete with Chinese manufacturers. Your new trams look high-end but not very cheap.
"Price is important to the customer. Competitors offer cheap trams that also have a shorter range and long-range models with different pricing. Maybe we should consider that too."
When will we see an electric Toyota Corolla sedan?
"Maybe in the future. Classic sedan construction is less suitable for production as an electric vehicle, compared to a crossover or hatchback. How do Israelis treat the Tesla Model 3, it's a sedan?"
Yes. But not competition for the Corolla, as exists in the US now with all the tax benefits it gets there.
"Look at the Lexus LC-ZC concept we introduced. It's proof that you can build an electric sedan, a little different from the classic sedan."
- Nakata presents Toyota's plans for the coming years
In the meantime, there are quite a few Israelis waiting for the Corolla Hybrid and other models from the manufacturer. Why do your delivery times sometimes reach months in Israel?
"In the past year, the chip crisis has not yet been solved, and in the first half of the year we also struggled with battery shortages. The increase in demand for hybrid models was greater than we expected. We apologize to the customers and try to improve delivery times to Israel."
Toyota is currently the second best-selling brand in Europe, after Volkswagen. Can Lexus reach such a position in the luxury market and overtake some German manufacturers?
"Toyota has never had a philosophy of being No. 1 in terms of sales. Our ambition is to provide everyone with mobility and happiness, to build a more successful vehicle that the customer will prefer to buy. Being No. 1 is a result of that, not the goal itself. Akio Toyoda always reminds us of that. Lexus is already No. 4 in the global luxury market and we're very proud of that."
Expected high yield
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Hamas Hylex in Sderot on October 7. The world gets hydrogen-powered Hylex, we're still a long way away/documentation on social networks according to section 27A of the Copyright Law, surfers' photography
Their introduction is a hydrogen-powered Hylex, which will enter limited serial production. But fuel cell technology, which turns hydrogen into electricity, is still very expensive. When will it cost as much as an electric vehicle on batteries?
"Right now we can't reach the same costs, partly because of production volumes. But in 2026, when we introduce the third generation of Toyota's fuel cell technology, and we reach production of 100,30 units a year, not only for cars, but also for trucks, buses and the marine sector, the price will drop by 200%. If there is demand for 50,7 units, the price will already drop by <>%."
After Hamas stormed Israel in a Toyota Hilex pickup truck on October <>, there are many Israelis whose hearts skip a beat now that they see a white Hylex approaching. What can you tell them?
"Toyota supports Israel and the Israeli public in this difficult time, through the volunteer activities and donations of importer Union Motors. I send my sincere condolences to all Israelis and hope that peace will return to you soon."
- More on the subject:
- Iron Sword War
- Gaza War