Toyota Motor Corp releases its first mass-produced battery electric car in Japan on Thursday only for rent, this strategy, according to the automaker, will help alleviate the driver’s concerns about battery life and resale price, but has caused distrust of analysts.
Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain much more popular in Toyota’s domestic market than electric cars (EVs), which accounted for only 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, according to the industry. However, the market is growing rapidly, and foreign automakers, including Tesla Inc., are clearly taking to the streets of cities like Tokyo.
Combine insurance, repair costs and battery warranties into a deal, Toyota will lease the SUV (SUV) bZ4X for the equivalent of $ 39,000 for the first four years. Cancellation in the first 48 months will mean an additional fee.
Although the adoption of EV in Japan has been slow, this will change Toyota may risk losing market share by focusing on leasing models rather than buying, said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter.
“Anything you do that complicates your purchase can be bad,” he said.
“It’s a strategy that I don’t really like. It shows that Toyota is taking the domestic market for granted.”
In December, Toyota said it would allocate 8 trillion yen ($ 62 billion) 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 anxiety” towards 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 automakers 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 lineup of EV batteries.
In 2010, rival Nissan Motor Co released the Leaf to the mass market, but on Thursday will release only its second battery-powered EV model, the Ariya SUV. Ariya will be sold for the equivalent of $ 41,500 excluding government subsidies.
Honda Motor Co in April set a goal to release 30 models of electric vehicles worldwide by 2030.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is generated automatically from the syndicated tape.)