Asia’s largest automaker is targeting to manufacture 3.5 mn vehicles annually in China by the time that year rolls around while boosting imports to the country to half a million vehicles, said sources close to the news who requested to be unnamed. According to them, the goal is internal and supposed to remain private for now.
Toyota has the current capacity of producing 1.16 mn cars in China annually, and has sold 1.3 mn there last year for an overall 4.5% market share. Volkswagen AG and General Motors on the other hand, delivered more than 4 mn each.
This foray comes at a time when Chinese officials are warming to the hybrid technology that Toyota pioneered with the Prius—amid a realization that electric vehicles along would probably not be able to achieve Beijing’s ambitious environment targets, said two of the people. The government is aiming for a fifth of car sales of its so-called new-energy vehicles by 2025—which will include EVs and plug-in hybrids. Stringent quotas for NEV production are also set into going into force from next year.
The company is hoping to accelerate growth and be competitive with the top manufacturers in the country’s market, which include VW, GM and Geely, a local manufacturer controlled by billionaire Li Shufu—who overtook all its Japanese rivals and became China’s third-largest automaker by sales this year.
While the China push is one way Toyota is adapting to fast changes in the car market, a focus on self-driving vehicles is another. On Tuesday, Toyota said it is investing $500 mn more in Uber Technologies Inc. and that it plans to manufacture minivans loaded with the US company’s software– with testing slated to begin on Uber’s ride-sharing network in 2021.
Toyota sold more than 2.4 mn vehicles in the US last year, almost twice as many as in China.