Toyota, the world's largest automaker, sold more cars in 2023 than ever before, but electric vehicles had a minimal impact on the increase. Of the total 11,233,039 vehicles delivered by the Japanese conglomerate, only 104,018 were electric vehicles.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda is reluctant to rely solely on electricity
In a speech to 200 company executives and managers, Toyota President Akio Toyoda confirmed plans for a combustion engine development project. The statement is in line with an announcement made at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, where the Toyota boss took the opportunity to tell everyone that the automaker will continue to produce combustion engines.
Most customers buy combustion cars
During the meeting, Toyoda expressed his belief that battery electric vehicles will never exceed a market share of 30%, regardless of technological advances. As a result, the remaining 70% will be represented by gasoline cars, hybrids, and fuel cell electric vehicles. The head of the world’s largest automaker also mentioned that hydrogen-powered engines could potentially offer a solution.
Akio Toyoda also focused on job security
“If we move quickly to battery electric vehicles, I’m sure the 5.5 million people in the Japanese automotive industry who have spent their lives working on engines will start to ask themselves, ‘What was it all for?’ Some of our engine parts suppliers today can’t even get banks to lend them money.”
Is Toyota going against the grain or is caution in order?
Toyota sees things differently, believing that battery electric vehicles cannot be the only solution to achieving carbon neutrality. Akio Toyoda mentioned that the charging infrastructure is nowhere near ready and pointed out that there are a billion people worldwide without access to electricity. Given that Toyota sells cars in these regions, it would make no sense to focus solely on electric vehicle production.