Toyota’s Chairman Is Having His ‘I Told You So Moment’ About EVs

Toyota’s Chairman Is Having His ‘I Told You So Moment’ About EVs

Akio Toyoda, chairman of the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, took a stubborn stance on EVs. While other automakers have been pouring billions into developing EVs, Toyota was still betting on hybrids and PHEVs while selling just one EV in the bZ4X. After a relatively hot last couple of years, EV sales have cooled off. A lot of American buyers don’t want them and things like un-affordability and high interest rates haven’t helped things. And it looks as if Akio Toyoda may have been right to take the stance he did.

Speaking as head of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the Wall Street Journal reports that Toyoda said automakers should have continued investment in hybrids instead of going all-in on EVs. He said the auto industry is realising that EVs aren’t the only way to reduce carbon emissions. “There are many ways to climb the mountain that is achieving carbon neutrality,” Toyoda said.

Toyota has taken a “wait and see” approach with EVs, deciding to invest in hybrid models like the new Prius, Corolla Cross Hybrid, even full-size hybrids like the Sequoia SUV and Tundra pickup. Now automakers are coming around to Toyota’s point of view: pulling back on EV targets and investing in more hybrids.

General Motors said last week it was delaying the opening of an electric pickup-truck factory in Michigan. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Ford Motor was considering cutting a work shift at the plant where it builds its electric F-150 Lightning pickup as demand for the truck falters.

Meanwhile, hybrid sales have taken off in the U.S., growing at a faster clip than the broader U.S. car market. That uptick has also prompted other automakers, like Ford and Nissan Motor, to shift more resources to promoting their hybrids and plug-in hybrid offerings.

Meanwhile, Toyota can’t keep up with hybrid demand. The Journal said that in September 2023, Toyota dealers had “a little more than a week’s worth of Prius hybrids in stock, compared with more than two months’ supply of its electric SUV, the bZ4X.” The company’s next EVs are still a little over two years out.

Until things change, and it doesn’t look as if they will, Toyoda is standing firm in his stance on EVs. “I have continued to say what I see as reality. Someone needs to convey to the industry what will make car buyers most happy and if regulations are created based on ideals, it is regular users who are the ones who suffer.”

Image: Toyota

Want more Aussie car news? Here’s every EV we’ve reviewed in the last two years, all the EVs we can expect down under soon, and our guide to finding EV chargers across the country. Check out our dedicated Cars tab for more.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.