Toyota ramping up bZ4X SUV production to compete in swelling EV market, but not anytime soon

Entertainment

Is the world’s largest automaker finally responding to the rapidly changing auto industry? Toyota is now considering ramping up production of its first 100% electric mass-market vehicle, the bZ4X SUV, but not until 2025, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Earlier this week, Reuters released that Toyota is considering changing its EV strategy after seeing the momentum of Tesla and other automakers entering the booming electric vehicle market are having.

It’s no secret over the past few years, Toyota has been one of the slowest movers in introducing and scaling the production of fully electric vehicles.

After pioneering the hybrid market with the introduction of the Prius, Toyota has failed to gain any meaningful traction with its EVs. As Electrek has reported for years now, Toyota has, for some reason, criticized going all in on electric vehicles, citing numerous “facts” that have little to no basis.

For example, in August, a Toyota executive claimed that “the consumer isn’t demanding [EVs] at that level,” referring to the US goal of reaching 50% electric vehicle sales share by 2030.

Despite this, most automakers are struggling to keep up with the demand for their electric vehicles. Nearly every other automaker plans to introduce several new EV models in the coming years on their way to an all-electric future.

Instead, the company has insisted on sticking to its hybrid vehicle strategy, which has been successful thus far, helping propel them to the top of the auto industry.

However, the industry is quickly evolving from under them. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 13% of new cars sold in 2022 will be electric after doubling in 2021 to 6.6 million. To illustrate, more electric vehicles are sold each week than in the entire year of 2012.

On the other hand, Toyota had to halt production of its first EV model, the bZ4X, due to concerning safety recalls. The automaker resumed bZ4X sales in early October and has only sold 232 in 2022, according to Cox Automotive’s Q3 EV sales report.

Now sources familiar with the matter claim Toyota is considering plans to scale production of the bZ4X electric SUV, but not anytime soon.

Toyota-bZ4X-production
2023 Toyota bZ4X EV SUV (Source: Toyota)

Toyota to increase production of bZ4X EV SUV in 2025

Not next year or the year after – Toyota is holding out to ramp production of its first electric model until 2025, according to a new report from Reuters. The new agency says according to three people familiar with Toyota’s strategy:

The Japanese automaker is considering increasing production of its bZ4X electric vehicle (EV) crossover by either six or 12 times from its current monthly output of a little more than 1,000 cars a month, from 2025 if it can secure needed components, including semiconductors.

The automaker would add production capabilities at its Takaoka factory, near Toyota’s headquarters. Toyota declined to comment on the situation, however.

Toyota’s bZ4X is sold in the US and Europe, while manufacturing for the EV is in China for the region. In addition, Toyota announced last year it plans to introduce 30 battery electric models to the market by the end of the decade.

Electrek’s Take

Considering Toyota is already late in joining the growing market for EVs, the last thing we want to hear is it will be a few more years until the automaker really takes part.

With EV demand climbing significantly in key markets, waiting any longer can put the company in jeopardy of losing its title as the world’s largest automaker.

Toyota has the resources and network to make the transition. It will come down to when the automaker decides to execute. As of right now, they don’t seem to be in much of a hurry, and that could cost them in the long run.


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