In early September Toyota announced that it was doubling down on its strategy to produce electric vehicles, maintaining course with the £33-billion electrification plan announced in 2021. However, a new report says that inside Toyota things aren’t so simple and that the company is frantically trying to rethink its EV strategy, as it is trying to match not only Tesla, but also other established automakers that have embraced electrification better.
Reuters reported late last month that four people with knowledge of the strategy change said that the automaker was indeed going to change the previously announced plan and possibly redistribute the £33-billion to be used better. The report reveals that apparently Toyota has already halted work on a number of EVs out of the 30 that it showed last year, although some projects were not interrupted.
The source report says Toyota has now stopped work on two EVs: the Crown saloon and the production version of the Compact Cruiser Concept shown in 2021. And the change of plan will naturally result in delays and some models being cut completely – this seems like quite a radical change of direction, but at the same time, it’s not unheard-of in the industry.
In fact, one good example of an important strategy change prompted by the shift to electric vehicles occurred at Jaguar. The historic British brand was working on its second ever bespoke EV, an all-electric XJ saloon, but that project got canned under a new CEO and now the brand wants to launch three battery-powered SUVs, which it intends to bring to market by 2025.
Toyota has reportedly created a special working group tasked with coming up with improvements to the original plan. They apparently have until early next year to present the new strategy and we’re curious to see how big the changes will be. Reuters asked Toyota to comment on this matter, but the manufacturer was coy, only saying that
In order to achieve carbon neutrality, Toyota's own technology — as well as the work we are doing with a range of partners and suppliers — is essential.
Still, Toyota does have its own bespoke electric vehicle platform, which it debuted in the bZ4X, so it’s not as far behind rivals as some might believe. And the fact that last year it announced the bold plan to launch 30 EVs meant that a change of vision had occurred within the company, undeniably spurred on by Tesla’s continued market success, as well as the success of specific electric models from other OEMs.