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Toyota Will Not Sell the bZ4x in Japan, Only Offer It Through a Subscription Service

We have already written that Toyota is waiting for the right cells to sell an electric car. We also argued that Tesla’s example with ternary battery packs might not be helping clean mobility as much as its advocates claim. Toyota’s strategy for the bZ4x in Japan confirms all of the above: it will not sell the electric SUV in its home market.
Toyota bZ4X 32 photos
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According to Nikkei Asia, Toyota will only offer the bZ4x in Japan through its Kinto subscription service. That should happen by May or June, while the EV’s production will start in April. June is a safer bet than May: manufacturing usually anticipates deliveries by around two months so that there are enough cars to begin distribution. With the bZ4x, that makes even more sense: Toyota aims to produce around 60,000 units in 2022.

Toyota argues that it will not sell the car in Japan because the country is not craving EVs as other markets. While that may seem like a sensible point, it does not make sense. Toyota could just let Japanese buyers decide about demand. If it is offering the electric crossover in its subscription program, the reason must be stronger than that.

It may have to do with reputation. Nikkei Asia stated that EVs rarely show up for sale as used cars in Japan. The reason would be that battery pack deterioration makes their resale value drop steeply. In that sense, the subscription service would allow drivers to taste the bZ4x without concerns about depreciation.

In a way, that is similar to Volkswagen’s approach of leasing used cars multiple times. The final goal is to remain in control of the battery pack for as long as possible. Toyota’s extremely aggressive warranty terms for the bZ4x battery pack may be another strategy for that to happen.

Should the battery pack fail before ten years or 240,000 km (150,000 mi), Toyota will replace it for free. The company just did not say it will replace this battery pack with a similar one: it may present better cell technology, such as solid-state batteries. We’re sure Toyota will start selling EVs in Japan when they are available.

 
 
 
 
 

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