Toyota rolled out On Thursday in Japan on Thursday was sold his first electric car with a rechargeable battery. This strategy, according to the carmaker, will help alleviate the driver’s concerns about battery life and resale cost, but at the same time caused distrust of analysts.
Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain much more popular in Toyota’s domestic market than electric vehicles, which accounted for just 1% of cars sold in Japan last year, according to the industry. However, the market is growing rapidly, and foreign carmakers, including Tesla, are making inroads on the streets of cities like Tokyo.
Including insurance, repair costs and a battery warranty in the deal, Toyota will rent bZ4X SUVs for the equivalent of $ 39,000 (Rs 632,000) for the first four years. Cancellation in the first 48 months will mean an additional fee.
Although adoption of EV in Japan is slow, that will change, and Toyota may risk losing market share by focusing on leasing models rather than buying, said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter.
“What you do that complicates the purchase can be bad,” he said. “It’s a strategy that I don’t really like. This shows that Toyota is taking the domestic market a little for granted. “
In December, Toyota said it would allocate 8 trillion yen (1 trillion) to electrify its cars by 2030.
Toyota is aiming to lease 5,000 SUVs this fiscal year – about as many EVs as analysts say Tesla sold in Japan last year.
The automaker plans to start selling the bZ4X in other markets later this year, and pre-orders have already begun in some European countries. Toyota has not decided when it will start selling cars in Japan, a spokesman said.
Electric cars have become popular in Europe thanks to rental programs offered by employers, and Toyota may be trying a similar way to promote electric cars, said Sadie Sugiura, a senior analyst at the Tokyo Research Institute of Tokay.
For the first time, customers are concerned about battery life and a possible drop in the cost of trade over time, said Shinya Kotera, president of Kinto, a division of Toyota that offers rentals. “Our role is to dispel concerns about EV,” he said.
According to the industry, imports of electric batteries have almost tripled to a record 8,610 cars in 2021. Analysts estimate that about 60% of them were Tesla. However, Japanese carmakers are still wary of switching to a fully electric lane.
Toyota became a pioneer in hybrid more than two decades ago and maintains great ambitions in both hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles, even though it is investing more to increase its EV battery line. – Satoshi Sugiyama and Maki Shiraki, (c) 2022 Reuters