24 Jul 23

What’s in store from Toyota’s fleet offering?

Having had significant success with its hybrid products, Toyota now focuses on electrifying its European range. But it’s also paying extra attention to providing fleet services for SME businesses, including finance, fleet management, mobility, and insurance services. 

Under the banner of “One Toyota”, this will be done by integrating the services provided by Toyota Financial Services (TFS), Toyota Insurance Services (TIS) and Kinto Mobility Services. 

Expanding its European Market

It’s a way of targeting SMEs (Small to Medium Businesses). By targeting small to medium-fleet customers, Toyota can work with them directly and not through the big leasing companies, thus giving the company and its customers more flexibility in providing tailored mobility solutions that include contract hire, corporate carpooling, and soon multi-mobility, car-sharing and flexible car subscriptions.

In the first half of 2023, Toyota Europe’s sales grew to nearly 600,000 units (573,976), and sales of electric vehicles climbed year-on-year (YoY) by 6%. Toyota manufactures Europe’s second best-selling passenger car (second to Volkswagen), the Toyota Taris Cross. Regarding fleet cars, having performed poorly in 2022, Lexus has made substantial headway in 2023 with a total sales volume increase of over 43%. 

In a press release, Matt Harrison, Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “Customer demand for our electrified line-up has continued to increase and dominate our sales mix. Our multi-technology approach in pursuit of our carbon neutrality goals appeals strongly to a diverse range of different customer needs across the region whilst enabling us to consistently exceed our European CO2 emission targets.”

Improving fortunes for Lexus

Lexus sold 34,020 vehicles in the first six months of 2023, an increase of +43% YoY. Its electrified mix increased to 86% of total brand sales, up +6.0% points. The brand’s SUV line-up of RX, NX, UX, GX and LX  represented 85% of total sales. Lexus puts the strong advance in sales down to improving supply conditions and new product introductions. Key models include NX, up +59% and new generation RX with increased sales of +42%. RX is available in three electrified powertrains, the RX 350h hybrid, RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid and the first ever RX 500h turbo hybrid. Customer deliveries have now started for another significant introduction, the new RZ 450e, Lexus’ first battery electric vehicle on a dedicated platform.

So what does the Japanese motor company have in the pipeline for fully electric vehicles? 

It has a lot of catching up to do. In the late 1990s, Toyota was in a leadership position regarding technology. Still, since then, its focus on hybrids and other powertrains (hydrogen) has resulted in it being late to the party for fully electric vehicle development. There are updated fully electric versions of the bZ4X SUV, launched in 2022, and the luxury Lexus RZ. It’s also developing new battery technology to offer over 900 miles (1,500km) of range. Being late to the market isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Toyota is stepping into a somewhat more mature market, in which (arguably) many of the early developmental mistakes have been made by other manufacturers. 

We will see models with Toyota’s next-generation performance battery technology launching in 2026, with a cruising range of 1,000km. These new Bipolar lithium-ion batteries will have increased energy density, and each vehicle will have improved aerodynamics and weight reduction. Toyota also aims to reduce costs by 20% and achieve a quick charging time of 20 minutes (or less). 

The company is also heavily promoting its range of commercial electric vans, the Proace Electric and the Proace City Electric, so plenty of fleet activity is going on. 

Image courtesy of Lexus: The LBX ATMOSHERES lineup.

Authored by: Alison Pittaway