Toyota is the world’s largest automobile manufacturer in terms of production and sales. This Japanese manufacturer is known in every country thanks to its commitment to quality and the efficiency of its factories around the world. It has a strong presence on five continents through manufacturing factories and design centers.
Much of Toyota’s popularity is due to its ability to offer the right vehicle for each market. Better than its Japanese, American and European rivals, Toyota is good at tailoring cars to the tastes of the markets it operates in. And in general, these are global products. The Corolla, RAV4, Land Cruiser, and Yaris are just four examples of the wide range of cars that cater to all markets.
Another part of this explanation comes from hybrid engines. Toyota has been making hybrid cars for over 20 years, selling millions of units during that time. The investment in this powertrain is paying off: the brand is ahead of its rivals in terms of fuel emissions and makes money from these cars.
What will happen in the future?
Despite the success and positive image that hybrid technology has given Toyota, some external factors are forcing the brand to take the next step. It has to decide whether to continue improving existing hybrid technology, or move to pure zero-emission electric vehicles.
The problem is that the second option is a bit unfamiliar to Toyota. As it has focused on the improvement and proliferation of hybrid cars over those 20 years, it has devoted less resources and interest to EVs. Today, Toyota is the world’s largest manufacturer of pure hybrid cars, but one of the smallest manufacturers of electric vehicles.
With emissions regulations tightening around the world, it’s clear that hybrid cars won’t be enough to meet the targets. Basically, these are internal combustion engines with electric drive. And while their impact on emissions has been quite positive, such powertrains will never achieve 100 percent zero emissions.
Hybrid tech is the ideal solution for now, but not in ten years. What will Toyota do? Will the company continue to bet on this interesting, cheap and easy-to-use solution? Or will hybrids be abandoned altogether in favor of electric solutions?
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an automotive industry expert. Jato Dynamics.