SODEGAURA, Japan — Toyota seems a bit torn about its new bZ4X electric crossover, the automaker's first serious attempt to tap into the rapidly expanding electric vehicle world.
On one hand, Toyota touts the bZ4X as superior to anything similar in its lineup in terms of torque, acceleration, rigidity, interior space, grip, safety and styling. On the other, the world's biggest automaker seems oddly reserved about the model's sales prospects.
At an early test drive event outside Tokyo last week, Toyota dodged questions about how many it expects to build and sell after the bZ4X goes on sale in mid-2022.
Daisuke Ido, general manager of ZEV Factory where Toyota is developing a fleet of new EVs, would only say that volumes are expected to grow with wider EV adoption.
But Japan's Nikkei newspaper, citing suppliers familiar with Toyota's planning, reported that the automaker has targeted just 60,000 vehicles worldwide in the bZ4X's first year, and then a decline to about 50,000 the next. By comparison, Toyota sold 407,000 of the comparable RAV4 crossovers last year in the U.S. alone.
But Ido said the Nikkei's number is wrong. That is likely because the newspaper did not seem to account for China, where Toyota will build the bZ4X through its two local joint ventures.