Toyota sold a record number of vehicles last month. Pure EV sales rose by 127% in November but still only accounted for 1% of Toyota’s total volume.
Toyota has been arguably the biggest laggard in the auto industry’s shift to fully electric vehicles.
The Japanese automaker has lobbied against stricter emissions rules for years. Known for being a pioneer in hybrid tech with the first-gen Prius launched in 1997, Toyota has refused to join the transition.
After longtime Toyota leader Akio Toyoda stepped down earlier this year, some expected to see the company turn things around.
Despite Koji Sato, former Lexus chief branding officer, taking the reigns in April, Toyota’s greenwashing has mostly stayed the same. Despite most governments moving toward an all-electric future, Toyota continues to push its hybrid strategy, including EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.
Because of this, the automaker is losing ground in key markets like Thailand and Latin America. Although EV sales rose 127% in November, BEVs still only account for 1% of Toyota’s total volume.
Toyota EV sales rise in November, but hybrids dominate
Toyota sold 9,406 EVs in November (including Lexus), up 126.8% over last year. The automaker has now sold 95,220 EVs globally through the first 11 months of the year, up 413% YOY.
EV sales in Japan are lagging behind global markets. Toyota sold 186 electric vehicles in its home country in November compared to 9,220 globally. Meanwhile, hybrids continue dominating Toyota’s overall output.
Toyota sold 322,463 hybrids in November, bringing the 2023 total to 3.1 million. That number is up nearly 30% compared to this time last year.
Overall sales reached 905,066, a new record. Toyota has now sold over 9.3 million vehicles this year.
Toyota credited the growth to hybrids like the RAV4 and Corolla in North America and Europe. Amid the growth, Toyota is likely to keep its title as the top-selling carmaker (for now).
Despite hitting a new sales record in November, global EV sales also hit a new high. EV leaders like Tesla and BYD continue gaining share in key global markets.
Tesla’s Model Y is on track to become the best-selling vehicle globally (electric or gas), overtaking the Toyota Corolla. How long can Toyota rely on hybrids? EV sales are only expected to continue climbing as new models are introduced and charging infrastructure continues expanding.
Research from BloombergNEF shows “no sign of an EV slowdown” despite the recent negative headlines.
Global passenger EV sales are expected to reach 14 million this year, up 36% from last year. In the US, sales are growing even faster and are expected to grow 50% in 2023.
Although some automakers like Ford and GM have pushed back EV initiatives, others are doubling down, like Hyundai and Volvo.
These companies expect to see EV demand continue climbing with new electric models like the Volvo EX30, starting at $35,000, hitting the market.
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