Toyota Motor Corp. will consider shifting electric-vehicle production to the U.S. if demand continues to grow, said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales in the U.S.
“When customer demand is there, when the business model is there, we will build it,” he said at a media event at the company’s North American headquarters in Plano, Texas.
Currently Toyota Motor Corp. does not have plans to invest in U.S. EV production. Carter also did not specify the sales threshold the company needed to hit to justify doing so. He emphasized the industry must resolve supply chain issues—that include a shortage of lithium-ion batteries—before Toyota could consider building EVs in the United States.
Toyota Motor North America provided journalists with a close-up look at the vehicle marking its return to the battery-electric vehicle segment after a seven-year hiatus when Toyota stopped producing its all-electric version of the RAV4. The Toyota bZ4X crossover concept and a yet-unnamed Lexus model built on the same platform will signal the re-entry into the EV space. The company plans to produce both vehicles in Japan.
Toyota also unveiled a crossover version of the Corolla compact sedan. The Corolla Cross will debut as a gasoline-only model in the United States.
Carter challenged the Biden Administration for championing U.S. EV manufacturing in plants with unions representing the labor force. Lawmakers are pushing for increased government subsidies for battery-powered vehicles but plans to exclude buyers of vehicles made by companies operating nonunion plants and importing EVs.
He said these policies distort the market and takeaway from the goal to lower emissions. “When you add in location of manufacturing or even who manufactures, you’re straying way off what the end game is,” he says. “The one that should pick the winners and losers is the consumer.”
Toyota plans to have all-electric or fuel-cell-powered vehicles to make up 15% of total U.S. sales by 2030. This is less than Ford Motor Co. which aims to sell 40% by 2030, and from General Motors which has pledged to only sell EVs by 2035.