Toyota Motor introduced two new fully electric concept models at the Auto Show in Shanghai Tuesday as part of its expanding bZ (Beyond Zero) lineup. The new EVs include a sport crossover and family-oriented SUV that will be launched in China next year.
The Japanese automaker released its first electric vehicle, the bZ4X SUV, in China this past October.
However, Toyota has struggled thus far to gain any meaningful traction, selling only 3,844 EV models through January, a fraction (0.25%) of its overall sales in the country.
In February, Toyota slashed prices to boost sales and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving Chinese auto market by 15%, or 20,000 RMB ($4,300). The move came after Tesla and other EV leaders reduced prices in the region earlier this year, creating a wave of discounts in the industry.
The automaker introduced its second fully electric model from its bZ lineup, the bZ3 electric sedan, in October. The electric sedan is generating attention after earning over 5,000 orders on its first sales day.
Toyota plans to bolster its lineup further after unveiling two new fully electric models Tuesday to join its lineup, including a sport crossover and SUV designed for families.
Toyota reveals new electric crossover and SUV concepts
The bZ Sport Crossover is based on the “reboot” concept integrating the idea of a change of pace as soon as you get in the vehicle.
In addition, Toyota says the bZ Sport Crossover includes an active, iconic style with functions to create a “personal space” for younger and Gen Z customers.
The electric crossover will be codeveloped by Toyota BYD EV Technology Co., a joint venture between FAW-Toyota (a JV between Toyota and FAW) and Chinese EV leader BYD.
Like with the bZ3, BYD will most likely provide the model’s battery, electric motor, and electronic control systems.
Meanwhile, the bZ FlexSpace Concept is designed for families with a focus on utility. Based on the concept of a “cozy home,” the electric SUV creates a safe space for families with a large, spacious interior, advanced safety features, and ease of use.
The electric SUV is being co-developed by Toyota, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC), GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd., and TMEC. It is planned to be produced and sold by GAC Toyota Motor.
Toyota says it’s accelerating its electric vehicle lineup by collaborating with local partners to offer more value and better products that appeal to customers in China.
Despite Japanese automakers, including Toyota, accounting for 19% of the overall auto market in China, they represent less than 0.35% of pure EVs.
And it’s not just Japanese automakers either. German automakers are also seeing their share of China’s auto segment dwindle with new entrants like BYD, Tesla, Geely, NIO, and more, ramping EV production and delivery.
Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and more have recently increased their EV sales and production goals as demand for zero-emission vehicles continues to take many by surprise.
With the release of its two new EV models, Toyota aims to reconnect with its customer base in the region.
Photo Credit: Toyota