Toyota Motor Corporation may shift electric vehicle (EV) production to the US if demand continues to grow, a top executive said, the latest sign that the Japanese carmaker is joining peers in embracing the technology.

Toyota would consider production at an existing or new factory in the US in response to a sustained increase in American consumers’ appetite for battery powered vehicles, Bob Carter, the company’s executive vice president for sales in the US, said in an interview Wednesday (2 June).

“When the consumer demand is there, when the business model is there, we’ll build it,” he said.

The automaker has no current plans to invest in US EV production, he said, and he did not specify what sales threshold would justify such a move. Industrywide supply chain issues – including a shortage of lithium-ion batteries – need to be resolved before Toyota could mull a decision on building EVs in the US, he said.
The company announced earlier this year that it will introduce two all-electric vehicles in the US starting in 2022: a Toyota crossover called the bZ4X and an as-yet-unnamed Lexus model built on the same platform. The two vehicles, both of which will be made in Japan, come as Toyota races to catch up with rivals in the small but fast-growing EV market.

The Biden administration has encouraged the auto industry to sell more EVs as part of a broader environmental agenda to reduce carbon emissions. The White House also has championed US manufacturing in plants whose workers are represented by organised labour. – Bloomberg News.