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Future CEO Koji Sato wants to urgently revamp Toyota’s EV strategy


When Koji Sato becomes the CEO of Toyota on April 1, he wants to push much harder towards dedicated EV models  

On 1 April 2023, Toyota will not only gain a new chief executive officer, but will imminently begin a “three-pronged approach” to a future of electric vehicles.

In a report by Automotive News, the upcoming Toyota CEO Koji Sato said he would accelerate Toyota’s EV rollout with a new strategy.

Three main goals have been set: ramp up the carmaker’s EV strategy, strengthen the company’s software-first initiatives and focus on creating carbon neutrality in Asia. 

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid badge
Toyota may be the king of hybrids, but it wants a greater push for full-electric vehicles

Sato also said that the rollout would be centred around a next-generation platform that is expected around 2026. 

More details are likely to be announced as Koji Sato takes office in April.  

The decision comes after Toyota was widely criticised for being slow in its uptake of electric vehicles when compared to other major carmakers. 

Toyota BZ4X 2023 front 3/4 driving 4
The Toyota BZ4X will be the first Toyota EV to be sold in Australia

How will the rollout work in the eyes of Koji Sato?

Mr Sato said that initially, Lexus would be the first part of the automotive business to accelerate into a new electric vehicle generation, rather than Toyota. 

There could be many reasons for this, however Lexus already has plans in place to have a fully electrified model lineup by 2035. 

Also, it’ll be easier for the Toyota group to position its first battery electric vehicles in the more luxurious Lexus arm, until it can get battery costs down to an acceptable level for regular passenger vehicles. 

2023 Akio Toyoda and new members of the Toyota executive board
Akio Toyoda is stepping down on April 1 and will be replaced by Koji Sato

How is Toyota’s EV rollout going in Australia?

Toyota Australia recently confirmed that it would bring three new EVs to market locally by 2026. 

The first fully-electric Toyota vehicle to be sold in Australia will be the BZ4X, with a smaller compact crossover model also expected around 2024. 

A third model – very likely to be the BZ sedan – could come to rival models such as the Polestar 2 and the Tesla Model 3

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD Hybrid 2022 front 3/4 distance
Toyota aims to electrify half of its fleet by 2025

Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said in early February that an electrified option (fully electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen) would be available for half of the Toyota fleet by 2025. 

This is in a climate where some marques and their local importers are adopting a more aggressive charge towards more comprehensively electrified ranges, such as Volvo’s all-electric target of 2026.