Toyota can’t seem to get out of its own way lately. The Japanese automaker was ranked among the 2022 “world’s most disruptive companies on climate policy” along with oil giants such as Exxon Mobile, Chevron and leading Russian oil companies.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are sure to miss the future.” Former US President John F. Kennedy once said.
The automotive industry and the world will progress with or without Toyota. The world’s largest car manufacturer denies the growing demand for zero-emission electric cars.
Toyota, the first developer of hybrid vehicles, is one of the few automakers that still insists there is no market for electric cars. Jack Hollis, director of sales for Toyota Motor North America, was recently quoted as saying:
I don’t think the market is ready. I don’t think the infrastructure is ready. And even if you were willing to buy one and if you could afford it… (the price is) still too high… It took 25 years to get below 10% (market share) in hybrid… The consumer is not demanding (EV) at this level. The consumer is not shouting, 30% or 40% by tomorrow.
Despite these comments, electric cars are rapidly increasing their market share in all major car markets. Buyers are more willing than ever to buy electric cars, with more than 50% of buyers looking for zero-emission options.
Most car manufacturers are overwhelmed with demand for electric vehicles. Ford, BMW, GM, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and basically every other vehicle manufacturer you can think of are selling record numbers of electric cars every quarter.
As for price, there are several options on the market, starting under $30,000 (Chevy Bolt EV/EUV, Nissan Leaf), with more coming in 2023.
Toyota’s lack of climate action
In a recent study by Greenpeace, the non-profit organization found that Toyota ranked last among the top ten automakers in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The study found Toyota:
- Generated less than 1% of total sales of zero-emission vehicles (not hybrids).
- Had the least developed supply chain to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Toyota has offered hybrids for more than two decades, providing a way to transition to zero-emissions, all-electric vehicles.
Despite this, Toyota is sticking to its hybrid strategy, offering hybrid, fuel cell and gas-powered vehicles, claiming:
Playing to win means playing with all the cards in the deck – not just a select few. So this is our strategy and we will stick to it.
Recently, the world’s largest automaker has apparently eased up on the idea as electric car sales continue to rise, with reports suggesting a revamp of its electric car strategy may be in the works.
Toyota, big oil, the worst ranking in climate policy
In a list dominated by the world’s largest oil and gas companies, Toyota was ranked tenth in 2022’s “Most Negative and Influential Companies in Climate Policy.”
Ed Collins, Director of InfluenceMap states:
Many of the companies on the list have high-profile commitments to curbing climate change, but continue to roll back specific policies designed to achieve it.
Toyota is still the most climate change-negative company in the transportation industry. Meanwhile, the study says the Japanese automaker has “improved on climate policy” but continues to lead “the global automotive lobby to oppose the phasing out of combustion engine vehicles.”
BMW also ranked 16th on the list after leading the EU’s decision to ban the sale of combustion vehicles after 2035.
Toyota prepared for this. I have no personal vendetta against Toyota, but the company is still standing in the way of all-electric, zero-emission transportation.
Looking at past comments from Toyota executives, it seems as if they have something against pure electric cars. Perhaps this could be because they grew to become the world’s largest car manufacturer with their hybrid technology, and they don’t think they should give it up.
As John F. Kennedy said, “change is the law of life,” and the trucking industry is shifting under Toyota’s feet.
The world’s largest automaker has recently stepped up its investment efforts in electric vehicles, but the company needs to show more or it could surely end up “missing the future.”
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