Toyota-CEO Out-Now Fully Onboard with EVs

Acura could sell a ton of them. Except it won’t: The luxury brand is skipping new hybrids and moving straight into all-electric vehicles.

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I saw Acura advertising their EVs during this weekend’s 24 Hours of Daytona race (Acura won the race, BTW). In fact I saw multiple ads for EV’s, both current and ‘coming soon’ varieties. Acura, Mercedes, Volvo and others.

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The Odyssey is not relevant to EV. That’s because minivan sales have dropped so much in recent decades that it’s hardly even worth designing new ICE models anymore. And certainly not worth designing a whole new EV model.

I’d love an EV minivan to replace our current one, but it isn’t happening. I suppose I’ll have to buy a large EV truck instead.

Perhaps Canoo is an alternative in the near future. Canoo is struggling financially right now.

Jay Leno toured their headquarters a year or so ago. Their design is a skateboard chassis &with battery pack that any body can be attached.

Motor Trend last month took one for a spin around the block.


I would only consider a new manufacturer after they sell a million plus vehicles. Otherwise there is the real risk of owning something that becomes unmaintainable after the company goes bust.


Here’s most of the article on the free side of a paywall. About halfway down, after the synopses of other reactions:

When I was working as a travelling salesman and needed to replace my car (total loss in a hit and run accident), I checked out the most popular car with taxi drivers which would be serviceable anywhere in the country. It turned out to be Dodge Dart with a made in Brazil V8 which was so heavy that the front suspension kept breaking. After several replacements I found a Colombian mechanic who said that there was no need to replace the suspension, he strengthened it by welding and I never again had that expense. After 16 years the engine seized up and the body was so rusted that I sold it for parts to another Dodge Dart faithful.

The Captain

Also worth noting that VW is selling all those BEVs at a loss. At least a year or two before VW BEVs become profitable. VW has yet to demonstrate that they can compete with Tesla and make money doing so, let alone approach Tesla’s margins per car on equivalent vehicles. And that’s after five years and about $100B invested. Meanwhile the Chinese are about to aggressively enter VW’s European backyard with cheap EVs.

Don’t get me wrong. I think VW is doing the right thing. But the VW story illustrates the difficulty legacy car companies have in making the transition from ICE to EVs. For each BEV sold VW loses money while Tesla makes an industry high profit. VW is still pretty far behind in the important metrics.

Can Toyota catch up? Only if they can make a significantly better EV than the competition at lower cost (as they did with small cars 50 years ago). Their best strategy might be to keep selling ICEs and put all the revenue into solid-state batteries in the hope that they can make a quantum leap in EV tech.


I have not heard a compelling reason why a legacy automaker cannot eventually make a BEV at a profit. Lots of up front costs of course for this that must be paid. Tesla lost lots of money for years. Why won’t the profit/loss tide turn for Ford, GM, VW, Toyota as well?

I believe the death of the legacy automaker is grossly exaggerated. Besides, people want choices in cars. That’s why we have Ford vs. Chevy people out there. Honda vs. Toyota. BMW versus Mercedes.

As for the profitable Chinese companies? Anyone really believe their accounting?

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Maybe. BEV’s ended up being more successful for VW than they had originally forecast. They had originally though it would take two or three years before they would be as profitable as ICE lines, but they then determined it would be much faster - and that’s from about a year ago:

As noted upthread, component costs and pricing changes over the last twelve months have bounced around. That makes it hard to know how accurate these types of statements still are. But I think the pessimism over incumbents’ profit margins is not really supported. VW’s TTM profit margin is as high as it’s been over the last decade, despite all those BEV’s and PHEV’s in the product mix. They sold 572,100 BEV’s alone last year - about 7% of their total sales - with no reduction in overall margin.

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You’re right! The legacy automakers could eventually make BEVs at a profit.

But… I’m not sure anybody is claiming that they can’t.

The main point that many Tesla investors are making is that Tesla has a big head start and continues to reduce costs… while innovating at a rate that I’ve never seen at a legacy auto company. The current status is that Tesla has profit margins beyond what the legacy companies can match, suggesting that Tesla can drive legacy companies to lose money at BEVs… but that isn’t necessarily how it will play out.

The other critical point is that legacy companies make their money with ICE… and increased BEV sales will reduce ICE profits unless/until their BEV profits rise. Can legacy companies make more money on BEVs than ICE? The answer is “Not yet!”… and any legacy company BEV profit is strongly contingent on Tesla’s benevolence since Tesla can keep reducing prices.

Bottom line: The legacy companies will struggle to fund BEV implementation… and, in turn, that will be a struggle for survival for some of them.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


I haven’t heard a compelling one, either - especially since BYD is the world leader in EV’s, soon will be the global leader in BEV’s, but started as a sizable ICE legacy automaker.

But I can give you a somewhat cynical reason. Tesla’s forward looking projections - 20 million unit production by 2030 - can’t happen unless there’s carnage among legacy ICE makers. Those projected sales would represent 20% of a future global auto market of about 100 million units, more or less. No company has had that high a share of the global auto market in decades. Since BYD is ahead of Tesla both globally and especially in China - and since China is where a huge part of the growth from ~75M to 100M is coming from - the only way they could possibly get that much of the market alongside a very big BYD is for the major legacy automakers to struggle intensely.

There’s just not enough room for Tesla to be selling that many cars, alongside a large (if not larger) BYD, without the type of “bailouts, buyouts, and bankruptcy” among legacy makers that IGU and others have alluded to. It’s an indispensable element of that forecast. The market share of the incumbents (collectively) has to collapse. They have to fail to adapt.


Of course, this assumes that BYD can become a global leader in the same way they have become a Chinese leader. History is not full of Chinese car companies becoming big outside of China.

The dealers.

They take somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 of the profit per car sold.
The sales dept does not really try to sell EVs. so much easier to “get you in this ICE car today” since it is on the lot in red and white and blue. Buyers that want EVs from a legacy dealer have to educate them on what they want.
The dealer management doesn’t want to sell EVs because they will make less on service.
I’m not just making this up…I had to go through a lot at Toyota when I bought a PHEV Prius rather than a regular Prius.
I had to go through this at Nissan when I leased a Leaf. They gave me 2 years of free charging at their on site charger (ChaDemo) which was often not working or blocked by a dealer ICE car that was for sale. They made it seem like they were doing me a favor to move it, while they took 10 minutes to “find the key”
A completely different attitude than Tesla.
The legacy car makers have very little control over what the dealers do or the attitude they have.

When they (legacy car makers) do have a desirable EV (like the Ford F150 Lightning) you get things like the dealers that don’t sell it to the customer that ordered it but instead add a huge markup and sell it to someone else.



Ok, I can see that. And yeah, that’s gonna be a problem.

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Last year China was the third largest auto exporter in the world (behind Japan and Germany). They’re expected to be the second largest this year.

And you don’t even need that. China’s big enough. BYD is already the global leader in EV’s, even though today they’re not selling any meaningful amounts outside of China. China’s where much of the future growth in the auto market (again, around ~25M) is expected to come from, and a huge part of the EV slice of that overall market. If BYD continues to sit on 30% of the Chinese EV market, even if it never develops much of an export business, there’s just not going to be enough room in the global market for a super-dominant Tesla (20M units) and thriving legacy automakers.

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I’m sure they can and some probably will. My point is that it will not be as easy as some folks here seem to be suggesting. Again, VW has spent five years and about $100B and are only just now making optimistic projections about BEV profitability.

Here is what I find interesting. Folks argue that all the ICE expertise and manufacturing infrastructure possessed by legacy automakers will be transferrable to BEVs and therefore be a huge advantage. Yet here we are at the stage when EVs seem to be entering exponential growth and no legacy automaker has made an EV that performs better than a Tesla or can be sold at higher margins. Despite all its manufacturing resources VW is still spending like crazy to convert to EVs and over the last five years could only gain marketshare by selling their BEVs at a loss.

In 2017, VW announced an $84B investment in electric.

At the end of 2021 VW announced another $100B over the next five years which will include the construction of:

The expenditures will include new factories, such as a new plant at the companies headquarters at Wolfsburg, Germany. VW’s Project Trinity, a new flagship electric car planned for around 2025, will be built at Wolfsburg. VW also outlined plans for a number of new facilities throughout Europe.

Apparently simply reconfiguring existing ICE plants doesn’t quite cut it. If VW is an example of what it will take for a legacy car maker to go all electric then I suspect a lot of legacy car makers either will not get there or end up being a much smaller player than they are now.


I don’t think that’s going to matter for very much longer. Dealers can exercise those preferences while EV’s are a very small slice of the market. But once a huge chunk of auto sales come with a plug, they’re just not going to be able to pick and choose that way.

Look at Europe. Nearly a quarter of all car sales are electric. Nearly all of them are by incumbent automakers (Tesla’s only got an 8% share of the EV market), that are mostly selling out of dealers. Once EV’s became a huge slice of the market, ~2.2M units in 2022, it got worked out.

The same will almost certainly happen here. Not while EV’s are a tiny slice of the market, but either that’s not going to last for too much longer. Either that, or the U.S. won’t matter much in terms of global EV sales (not that we do already) as the incumbents focus on the 85% of the market that isn’t the U.S.


Actually, I agree that this will happen…eventually. But I’ve been thinking that its just a year away for 3 or 4 years. Every year that it doesn’t happen…yet, just allows Tesla (and the other much smaller EV companies like Rivian, Lucid, etc) get established more solidly.

But besides figuring out how to design and assemble desirable EVs profitably the legacy car makers need to contend with the fact that very few in the US like the typical dealer buying experience. The haggling (real or fake) with the “manager,” ridiculous over-MSRP markups, and the pressure from the finance guy for upsells and extended warranties are holding back the dealers since there are increasingly alternatives. It seems only Ford can admit this.



CarMax has been around for almost 30 years.