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Stocksak: Toyota cuts the leasing fee on troubled EVs to rekindle order

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© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO A worker prepares a 2023 Toyota Electric BZ4X at New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York City U.S.A., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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TOKYO (Stocksak). Toyota Motor (NYSE) Corp resumed taking lease orders for its first mass-produced electric car (EV) in Japan on Wednesday. The company halved a one-time fee in order to attract interest in a vehicle that was subject to a safety recall within two months.

The automaker stated that the bZ4X crossover can be leased only in its home market. In this market, gasoline-electric hybrid models are more in demand than EVs due to consumers not having to worry about battery life or resale values.

Toyota introduced the car in May. It charged a 770,000 yen application fee ($5,175) plus a 107.800 yen monthly lease for four years of a 10-year agreement.

The application fee for the lease is 385,000 yen, while the monthly cost of the lease is 1,100 yen less. Shinya Ktera, president at KINTO, the Toyota unit that offers the leases, said that those who have signed up before Wednesday are eligible for a discount.

“In retrospect we felt that the price was a bit too high and customers also pointed it out,” he stated, adding that the EV is also available to corporate lease starting Wednesday.

Stocksak heard that the discount is “painful” as it is unlikely to cause a significant sales surge, but KINTO can still turn a profit. The former Toyota veteran spoke to Stocksak in an Oct. 19 interview that was held under embargo.

After discovering that sharp turns and sudden brakes could loosen a bolt, the automaker recalled the Z4X and stopped production within two months. It restarted production in October 6.

This model was the flagship of a late global EV strategy. It was once praised by environmentalists, green investors, for its revolutionary hybrid petrol/electric technology. However, it has been criticised for not being quick to embrace all-electric cars.

Stocksak reported Monday that Toyota is considering resuming operations just a year after its $38 billion EV program.

Toyota originally aimed to lease 5,000 of the bZ4X crossovers during the current financial year. But Kotera stated that this would be difficult to do due to the recall and a cautious approach to electric vehicles in a country without charging infrastructure.

He said, “I don’t think we are in a type of environment where customers would buy the Z4X, so we have got to take our time and make the effort.”

($1 = 148.7900 yen)

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