Toyota has lengthy been king of the hill within the auto world, or not less than competing for that title with Volkswagen Group for those who added up all its manufacturers and it was having an excellent yr. On the prime of the mountain for general gross sales and likewise within the mannequin gross sales rankings, you’d discover Toyota rapidly. That’s been the case in market after market, too. And for all of the hype round Tesla disrupting the auto world, the main target has been on the higher-cost half of the market. However there are indicators Toyota’s getting rattled.
To begin with, within the first quarter, the Tesla Mannequin Y outsold each Toyota mannequin on the block. Nicely, it outsold each vehicle mannequin on the planet!* Many or most Tesla followers — and even Tesla haters who comply with Tesla information intently — anticipated this was coming. It’s lengthy been thought of a risk for this mannequin — earlier than even the primary Mannequin Y was delivered. Reportedly, although, Toyota didn’t see it coming. An trade insider reportedly informed Automotive Information that it was a little bit of a shock to the Japanese auto big with the Mannequin Y outsold the Toyota Corolla. “That was a giant blow that basically began tipping issues,” they mentioned.
One result’s that Toyota has apparently gotten extra critical about real electrification (not merely hybridizing fashions, however designing and producing totally electrical autos — eventually). Yoshio Nakamura, Toyota’s deputy chief of world manufacturing, now says (roughly a decade late to the social gathering) that it’s going to be taught some issues from Tesla however then go forward and do a greater job than Tesla at producing electrical vehicles. (In fact, he has to say that, proper? What’s he going to say, that Toyota goes to construct worse electrical vehicles extra inefficiently?)
Right here’s a quote from Nakamura: “In fact, we admit Tesla has fantastic expertise. However that simply motivates us to work more durable to catch up. If we’re to be taught from them, it received’t be a replica. We’ll enhance upon them by means of kaizen.” Essentially the most eye-catching a part of that quote for me is “to catch up.” Nakamura is explicitly admitting proper there that Toyota is behind. I assume it’s so apparent at this level that they will simply say it, and particularly with the Tesla Mannequin Y turning into one of the best promoting car mannequin on the planet. So far as bettering on EVs and the EV manufacturing course of by means of kaizen, effectively, we’ll see what occurs. I’m not saying Toyota received’t, however at this level, I’d additionally wish to see proof earlier than I take claims like this with something greater than a grain of salt.
The excellent news? Toyota is seemingly attempting now! I feel that’s value celebrating.
*Tesla delivered extra Mannequin Y autos within the second quarter than the primary, so one presumes it might effectively have been one of the best promoting car mannequin on the planet once more, solidifying its place as one of the best promoting car mannequin on the planet within the first half of the yr — however we’ll see.
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