In 2007 the auto media was projecting that GM might fall from being the worlds largest auto company in production terms. In 2009, the final numbers proved that Toyota Motor Corporation had surpassed GM as the worlds largest auto company by production numbers. Also Toyota was growing in sales of their Hybrid line under the Prius moniker.
Fast forward to 2021, battery electric auto's are all the rage by auto companies. Toyota production of auto's in Japan has 50% of them exported to other countries such as the Prius Hybrid and TRD Trucks. The CEO of Toyota has stated that the country is a "export-reliant country" and by shifting Japan as well as other countries shifting to BEVs and requiring production to be local, jobs will be lost. Toyota says up to 5.5 million jobs will be lost by going to BEV's versus keeping Hybrids going and moving to Hydrogen which will achieve the reduction in green house gas but also keep people working.
The largest part of this argument is that Toyota shifted heavy resources to Hydrogen as the future of the auto industry and trucking industry while companies like GM supported Hydrogen research but also was still looking at electric auto's. This does make one think that Toyota also thought Tesla might just be an anomaly that would go away and yet did not have a full embrace by Tech workers all over the world and Europe. China then also choose to go with electric over hydrogen auto's and this found Toyota to be behind everyone else that had chosen to follow China with focusing on electric auto's.
Rivian has also done what no one else had done before and that was to focus on electric auto's as Life Style vehicles.
With this, it should come as no surprise that folks that have been turned off by Tesla have gravitated to Rivian for those wanting an electric vehicle. In the latest Rivian is no Tesla story on CNN Business, it is an interesting observation that many of the reservation holders have stated that they are waiting to replace their 4 Runner or Prius with a Rivian R1T or R1S auto. The down to earth approach of the CEO RJ, life style focus and environmental messages that feel sincere is what has driven people to pre-order the Rivian auto's. With production now in full swing, one has to wonder what Toyota will do as they loose customers to Rivian.
As per multiple news stories about Rivian lately, it seems many Toyota Customers are waiting to get a new Rivian. This has shown in Fords Conquest sales of the Mach-E at a 70% conquest rate for people switching from other brands to the Mach-e. Ford has also taken a page from Rivian's marketing in pushing the Mach-E as a life style BEV for Tailgating and on the road Parties.
Ford has just recently announced the Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck lineup which has already sold out the first year production as they offer both commercial and retail versions of the truck.
As the official largest truck seller for decades in the US, this will make it even harder for Toyota as Ford also enters the electric truck market at a much lower price over the luxury truck from Rivian.
Even with the latest update of the Toyota Tundra:
Toyota faces a monumental challenge in just getting to be competitive with the American truck builders due to the extensive assortment of cabs and beds that are offered along with power trains and now electric as you also have GM entering the Life Style electric auto market with their Hummer by GMC twins of a truck and SUV. As GMC has marketed the worlds first SuperTrucks! 1,000 HP with WATTS to Freedom mode.
This makes one question how a company that thinks Hydrogen is better and invested in the first Hydrogen fueling stations in California can over come the growth of the pure electric market with people able to charge anywhere especially at home over night. Be is a slow 110V charge, 220V or 440V, Toyota is going to have a hard time as the populations in Europe, China and North America move to electric auto's for the future.
Even those that are not fans of Trucks or SUVs but like the performance will have their own Life Style electric option as Dodge rolls out their BEV's.
Toyota has recently committed to spending $13.6 Billion on Solid State Battery technology as they work to catch up with the rest of the auto industry. They believe their Rav 4 Hybrid and pretty much every other product they have can hold them with Hybrids till BEVs are ready, but in a fickle market place, where Tesla is loosing market share to Rivian and Ford, how can Toyota hold onto their global industry lead?
This brings up another question that has to be asked, is Ford ready to be the global leader in Auto sales as they lead the push into a full electric portfolio? What about Rivian as it is backed by Ford and especially by Amazon with a decades long contract to deliver electric vans for package delivery. Could this be what allows Rivian to rise to one of the top auto builders in the next decade?
What are your thoughts on this, could the resistance to electric auto's by Toyota be their downfall?
Who do you think might become the industry leader in auto manufacturing by the end of this Decade, 2030?