Admitting that it had overestimated both the market for all-electric vehicles (EVs) and the ability of battery makers to meet consumer requirements, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) announced this morning that it has killed its plans to promote widespread sales of the company’s eQ EV. Toyota now says that it will sell just 100 of the EVs in the United States and Japan.
The company announced the car in 2010, together with plans to sell several thousand of them a year. Today, Toyota’s vice-chairman said, “Two years later, there are many difficulties.” No kidding.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) sold just 2,831 Chevy Volts in August, bringing its year-to-date total to about 13,500 vehicles. Toyota’s plug-in hybrid, the PHV, sold just 1,047 and the Nissan Leaf even fewer — 685. The Focus Electric from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sold just 34 cars, while the Fit EV from Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) sold just 9. Tesla Motor Corp. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is estimated to have sold 71 EVs in August, according to hybridcars.com.
Toyota also announced today that it would introduce 21 new or full model change hybrids by the end of 2015. The company expects to sell 1 million of the various models in each of the next three years. Through August, Toyota has sold about 200,000 of its various hybrid cars this year.
Toyota also said it was working on a fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) that it hopes to begin selling in three years or so. The company sees a better opportunity there:
Anybody can make EVs, but that’s not the case for FCVs. So we see a lot more potential in FCVs.
Toyota’s shares are down less than 2% in premarket trading this morning at $80.25, in a 52-week range of $60.37 to $87.15.