Toyota’s Allegedly Stopped Developing The One Toyota We Are Super Excited About

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In today’s dump we look at GM’s Q3 financials, Hyundai’s battery plant plans, Toyota’s weird EV plans, and a bonus Skoda!

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

What The Hell Is Going On At Toyota?

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Reuters his this exclusive report from Japan saying Toyota is maybe going to completely redo the big EV plans they announced just last year.

Intrigue!

This report is based on a document created by an internal working group. It sounds like Toyota put together this working group to Red Team their global EV strategy.

It’s important to ask: Who leaked this report? Maybe it’s from someone in this internal team (or elsewhere within the company) trying to pressure the automaker to take up the working group’s suggestions. Maybe it’s from someone an another team trying to get Toyota to double-down on their current strategy. Maybe the company is trying to telegraph to investors that a change is coming. It could be an accident, of course, but I doubt it.

What this report underlines is that Toyota’s EV strategy is definitively slower than other automakers (which we knew) and also maybe not settled (which we didn’t know).

Toyota’s clearly insistent on pursuing hydrogen cars and the company’s President has been saying stuff about EVs being further out than the media proclaims. There’s too much about the report that’s unclear to make any definitive judgments, but this did stick out to me:

Meanwhile, Toyota has suspended work on some of the 30 EV projects announced in December, which include the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover and the battery-electric Crown, according to the sources and a document reviewed by Reuters.

WHAT?!?!

Over my dead body. The Toyota Compact Cruiser is the best looking and most interesting Toyota product previewed in a decade.

Don’t screw this up, Toyota.

GM Is Making Real Money

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GM earned a pre-tax/interest profit of $3.9 billion in the third quarter of 2023 from North America, up 83% from the same quarter last year when supply constraints hamstrung pretty much every company that couldn’t make a pickup truck out of used masks. You can see GM’s full report here.

Globally, the numbers are still positive, with GM earning $41.9 billion from all operations and an EBIT-adjusted net income of $4.3 billion. All of those numbers are up over last year.

How, exactly, is GM doing this? It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to suss it out. You can see that the North American profits make up a large bulk of global profits, and we know that GM sold a lot of trucks and SUVs. So many trucks and SUVs. From their Q3 sales report:

  • Surpassing Ford F-Series sales calendar year to date: GM sold more full-size pickups than Ford in 2020 and 2021, and is on track to do so again in 2022.

  • The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL earned close to 70% of the retail market for full-size SUVs in the third quarter.

  • The Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV earned close to 31% of the retail market for large luxury SUVs, leading the No. 2 competitor by double-digits.

Trucks! It’s also worth noting that margins in North America increased while global margins decreased. It’s not unreasonable to expect that, with some supplies still restrained, this means we’ll see production for lower-margin vehicles lag behind the profitable trucks.

These are positive numbers so it’s not a complete stretch to think GM can make up its goal of $13 billion to $15 billion pre-tax (they’re at $10.7 billion thus far).

Hyundai Breaks Ground On $5.4 Billion EV And Battery Plant In Georgia

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Some of my kin originally hail from the Savannah, Georgia area and I’d like to wonder what my Grandpa Leonard would say if he were still around and I told him that a Korean automaker would be opening a $5.4 billion plan to make batteries for electric cars near where he grew up.

I like to think he’d be excited, though I’d then have to explain how the Inflation Reduction Act encourages automakers to build things locally and that the South Korean government is a little pissy about it. He’d probably have a laugh at that.

Would I then try to explain that, actually, the South Koreans make some of the best cars in the world and that this is a big deal? My grandparents on that side of the family exclusively bought American cars as far as I can remember so that might be a surprise. I guess I could make it more exciting by mentioning that the Mustang is now available as an electric SUV.

According to this Automotive News story at the groundbreaking there will be Georgia’s two Democratic senators and one Republican governor. My granny is a fierce conservative but my grandpa never outlived his Democratic tendencies so maybe he’d find that interesting, too. Certainly the fact that one of the Senators is a fiercely progressive black pastor and the other is Jewish would be a bit of a shock!

I say all this to remind people that the present always seems weird when viewed from the past. Even ten years ago this would have probably been surprising news, but now it seems inevitable.

Check Out The Skoda Enyaq iV vRS

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My love for Skoda is well established and there’s no reason to spend a lot of pixels doing a breakout story on the new Skoda Enyaq iV vRS, but I think it looks great so here we go.

This is basically a VW ID.4, with the same MEB platform underpinnings. In vRS form the Enyaq has two motors and AWD with a range of over 310 miles on the WLTP cycle.

It looks nice! Doesn’t this look nice?

The Flush

On a scale from Upset-to-Livid how mad are you going to be if Toyota kills the Compact Cruiser?

 

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72 Responses

  1. I never thought I would long for the days when Toyotas were merely bland. I’m so over this aggressively ugly phase. It’s like a teenage kid who gets a blue mohawk just to piss off his parents. It’s time to stop it with enormous non-functional grilles and especially, those Lexus Predator grilles. Yeah, I liked Predator too but I don’t think the face of an alien manhunter is the right look for a line of luxury vehicles. Toyota, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    1. Don’t worry I’m sure that Toyota once they read your posts will forgo billions in sales to spend millions to build the car that only you will buy. S/. Do people realize that we on this site buy cars that are on the economic losing end? Manufacturers really don’t care about us just want to build a car with the largest mark up. So old brown manual wagon ain’t it. Especially when so many type Manuel, a person’s name not a transmission, and we don’t buy when they make what we say we want. So many of us buy that appliance first then if the wife allows we buy 1 hot car. I bought my desirable car new in 2002 and haven’t bought another car since, 3 box trucks, no cars. Yeah that ain’t profitable.

    2. I’m trying to think of a current Toyota or Lexus product that I think is objectively attractive and all I’ve got is the GR86, which isn’t even a full Toyota, and the LC500, which is an absolutely incredible car that’s reserved for the 1%. Nothing else really does it for me….the Supra is fine but it’s definitely not conventionally attractive, not to mention it’s a BMW.

      1. I’d disagree, i do think Toyota still has some decent looking cars:
        – Tacoma
        – 4Runner
        – Camry (mostly, the front could be better but the rest of the car saves it)
        – Corolla Hatchback (even though it shares many lines with the sedan, they just work better for me on the hatchback)
        – Sienna as an honorable mention for Toyota attempting an interesting design on a van even if it doesn’t entirely work.
        – Land Cruiser (might not count if technically it’s not being sold?)

        Now for the ugly list…
        – Tundra (outgoing model looked good but the new one looks too much like an American truck)
        – Crown (ok maybe it’s not horrific and maybe the whole lift up a sedan concept didn’t make sense to me)
        – Avalon (on it’s way out, it’s line they forgot to attach a front bumper)
        – Prius (in a vacuum sections of the car look alright but the entire package all together does not)

  2. Hopefully Toyota can afford to play the long game.

    The future is plug-in hybrid EVs. BEVs will never capture more than a fraction of the market.

    But eventually plug-in hybrids will be Battery/Hydrogen fuel cell hybrids. And Toyota is positioned to be WAY ahead of everybody when that time comes. Unless somebody invents a battery pack with megawatt charging rates, and builds megawatt charging infrastructure, Toyota is going to dominate.

    1. If that was indeed the future then the Volt, Plugin Ford Fusion, Plugin Hyundai Ionic and Honda Insight would have all been raging success. The problem is that these cars are both expensive to manufacture and doubly complicated due to the nature of having two drivetrains. We owned a Volt for years. People simply DO NOT GET that a car can both run on gas or a battery or both at the same time. The Volt came out in 2010 and was canned in 2016. The same is true for all of the other plugin hybrids. The future is more likely pure EV, which is why all of the major manufactures- including Toyota-will be heading that way.

    2. This is the most plausible path forward for hydrogen that I’ve heard yet. I still don’t think it’s practical to scale it up as the primary fuel source, but as a secondary one that is only needed for road trips the problem might be reduced from insurmountable to just extremely difficult (which is pretty much where every future propulsion technology is right now).

      1. I think that is what Toyota’s scheme is. I think they would be selling them already except there are two problems:

        The BEV segment isn’t saturated yet, and there aren’t enough batteries for BEVs. Also, hydrogen infrastructure lags charging infrastructure. That means a fuel-cell hybrid would have more difficult adoption to begin with, and is completely out of the question when you add the high cost of in-demand batteries to it.

        Eventually, though, the 40-something% of the market that can be satisfied with a simple BEV will be covered. If new gasoline vehicles aren’t allowed, what do you cover the rest of the market with? Hydrogen infrastructure will still be far from ubiquitous, but we should be able to cover major transportation corridors. And for day-to-day driving you can charge your (small) battery at home. It would be the best of both worlds. 90% of the time your battery would suffice. When it doesn’t you’d be topping up with hydrogen in a few minutes/seconds rather than waiting many dozens of minutes to charge. Also, the speed at which you can refuel means we can cover a larger number of vehicles with less infrastructure than you need to charge BEVs along the highway.

        1. All they have to do is create a hotted up, super luxury, hydrogen Land Cruiser that can go 0-60 in 2 seconds while getting 800 miles of range between fillups. Bc if they build that, the extreme lack of hydrogen infrastructure won’t matter as much. Then they can say “told ya so”.

          But I just don’t see that happening. Instead they’ll dither about petulantly whining that hydrogen is better (correctly!) while Tesla and Rivian and even GM continue to sell out, year after year, of BEV monsters.

      1. I actually like the Crown. I’m an unapologetic slut for luxobarges and the Crown is just so weird and out there that I can’t help but love it. I also like that the performance-ish (5.7 0-60 ain’t all that in 2022 and the thing is like 4300 pounds) trim is a hybrid that gets 30 MPG combined. Not sure how I feel about paying 53k for one but I don’t imagine they’ll be hot sellers…if they start putting money on the hoods or secondhand ones slip into the 40s I’ll definitely give it a look.

        For an enthusiast who wants a comfy, fast-ish, weird car and has a family you could do a lot worse. I get that the styling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I dig it. They got real weird with it.

  3. I thought the Toyota we were all supposed to be excited for was the rumored MR2 successor.

    If you actually want a small electric crossover, your needs are going to be served by basically every automaker. Not shedding a lot of tears for this particular one, despite its odd looks.

    1. Pre-tax earnings were $4.2793B
      Post-tax earnings were $3.305B

      Number in the article is off by a decimal point, but they were nice enough to link to the data.

      “pre-tax revenue” and “post-tax revenue” are A: things you made up to make a bad point, and B: silly concepts. Your revenue is always the same before and after taxes.

      1. Repeat after me:
        It’s not inflation if the corporations are posting record profits.
        It’s not the supply chain if the corporations are posting record profits.
        It’s the corporations profiteering because they can.

        1. Their margins are single digit.

          It’s inflation. And it’s not the supply chain. It’s overly exuberant economic stimulus.

          If your margin is flat and inflation is single-digit, you have record profits by dollars.

  4. “Meanwhile, Toyota has suspended work on some of the 30 EV projects announced in December, which include the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover and the battery-electric Crown, according to the sources and a document reviewed by Reuters.”

    Yes.
    This is a thing you do when the giant market you were planning on (China) becomes overtly hostile, and there is very clearly a severe recession on the horizon. You stop spending money. Especially on very expensive things that you will not be able to sell.
    Toyota is not the first. They will not be the last.

    “Globally, the numbers are still positive, with GM earning $41.9 billion from all operations and an EBIT-adjusted net income of $4.3 billion. All of those numbers are up over last year.”

    Repeat after me:
    It’s not inflation if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s not the supply chain if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s the corporations profiteering because they can.

    up 83% from the same quarter last year
    It’s not inflation if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s not the supply chain if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s the corporations profiteering because they can.

    when supply constraints hamstrung pretty much every company that couldn’t make a pickup truck out of used masks.
    It’s not inflation if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s not the supply chain if the corporations are posting record profits.
    It’s the corporations profiteering because they can.

    On a scale from Upset-to-Livid how mad are you going to be if Toyota kills the Compact Cruiser?

    I’m just gonna point at GM’s profits and you can guess the level and what I’m actually mad about from that.

    1. Yes Toyota sucks. They compete with the number one top selling car manufacturer in the world. I’d settle for being a billions profit loser to a bankrupt winner. Why do people think auto manufacturers want anything but record profits. If I invest my retirement money it’s going Toyota not Tesla.

  5. The Skoda bodes well for the one MEB vehicle I’m excited about: the Bus (Buzz in VW-speak). Having funky colors and a hotter AWD setup is a good thing. Even if it ends up being dull as dishwater to drive, at least it’ll be quick and okay to look at. I’m okay with having an appliance vehicle because my somewhat interesting car can stop piling on the miles. And it can get modded without negatively affecting a daily driver.

  6. Counterpoint: The Toyota Compact Cruiser looks stupid and is stupid.

    It doesn’t need a stupidly long hood, it’s a BEV, if there’s anything in the hood it’s a bad design, if there’s nothing under the hood it’s a bad design. It should be more of a cab over design like the Canoo EV but have a clear glass front and a small dash so you can see the ground in front of you through your footwell, which is really useful when offroading, and it would make for a more compact EV.

    Having an integrated roof rack and ladder will only worsen noise and make it louder (requiring more sound insulation making it even heavier). Just do what Ineos did with a reinforced roof strong enough to serve as a roof rack without horrible roof rack aero and noise.

  7. You wanna know a secret? Governments EVERYWHERE are betting big on hydrogen being the future. BEVs are just a stepping stone in the mean time until they actually figure hydrogen out. Toyota know this. Does anyone really think the largest automaker in the world is asleep at the wheel on this? I mean the bz4x is the laziest attempt at an EV, Toyota knew they needed to throw something out the door for now, but hydrogen will be the future.

    1. ” Governments EVERYWHERE were DUPED into betting big on hydrogen being the future. But it’s not because BEVs have killed any chance of them succeeding”

      There… fixed what you said for accuracy.

      If you think hydrogen vehicles are the future, then I suggest you go buy yourself a Toyota Mirai and live the dream… LOL
      Here’s one you can pick up for $11,000
      https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=657227941

      And after you own one for a while, you’ll figure out why Mirais don’t hold their value the way Teslas do.

    1. Science is plausible, doesn’t look like a scam. I don’t see how using a chemical reaction to capture and release the oxygen separately from the solution is as efficient as they claim and they don’t seem to mention anything about the anode needing regular replacement but it must if it’s constantly being oxidized and reduced. Typical to exaggerate the positives and minimize the negatives.

      1. Thanks for commenting. I actually slightly understand what you said, which surprised me.

        I’ve asked this several times on car forums and yours is the first answer i’ve ever got.I guess that means lots of people are as bad at chemistry as me? haha

    1. Pssst it’s because Toyota has invested billions into hydrogen tech, and suddenly realized they don’t have the people/resources to compete with other OEMS in battery development. The Prius for example uses a nickel battery and the excuses Toyota made were absurd…

  8. Between my wife and myself we owned – for various reasons – three FJ Cruisers, including a rather rare one with a manual transmission. They were mediocre vehicles in most respects and just plain bad in terms of a few vital on- and off-road performance metrics. (And we fought a continual yearly battle with frame and undercarriage rust. We were successful but it took effort and expense.)

    Toyota isn’t a serious car company “on the margins”. By that I mean that they take their bread-and-butter appliances seriously, the Camry, the Corolla, etc., in terms of development and support, but do not give the same commitment to the designated corporate outliers. So the interesting Toyotas are always a weird mix of “gosh wow” and “da fuque were dey thinkin’?” The FJ Cruiser was a good example; the Compact Cruiser seemed destined to be another, so perhaps it’s not surprising that it dies a stillbirth. Let it go.

    We sold all three FJ Cruisers last year for tens of thousands of dollars more each than we had bought them new. So I feel affection for Toyota and their reputation among a small but rabid element of American enthusiasts, but with better companies and choices out there, I’ll likely never buy one of their vehicles again….

  9. 1). Toyota’s EV roll out has been an unmitigated disaster. While I think they’re right to want to pump the brakes on the EV mass hysteria, I think it’s a bit inexcusable that they’re as far behind as they are at this point…and it’s creating a factory of bad press and ill will with a lot of potential buyers.

    I’m sure a fanboy or two will be here to correct me soon, but I really don’t understand very much of what Toyota is doing at all anymore. It seems like their attitude is more “you’ll get what you’ll get” rather than “we’ll make you what you want” and I’m just not sure that that’s sustainable in this day and age. I don’t think anyone here would disagree that they’re a bit behind the times right now, and before someone says “but the GR Corolla and manual Supra!” I personally can’t help but see those products as deeply cynical…and the way they’re creating artificial scarcity to drive up demand for them is harming enthusiasts as much as the existence of those products is helping them, not to mention it’s encouraging more horrific dealer price gouging. Alright I said it…come at me!

    2). Good for GM. While they don’t have any products that really appeal to me other than the ones that are coated in unobtainium (Z06, ZL1, Blackwings, et cetera) I’m always happy to see American manufacturers succeed. Regardless of our political leanings I think us Muricans can all agree that successful home turf manufacturing is cool and good.

    I also just watched the Savagegeese video on the new GMC Sierra (I’ll watch anything they make even if it’s a car that doesn’t really matter to me) and I think GM has done some clever stuff with their trucks. They aren’t riding on the most up to date chassis, so they’ve found creative ways to make up for it…like snazzy interiors, LS-ing all the things while everyone else is going to V6s, offering the excellent Duramax diesel powertrains, etc. Smart decision making is keeping those products relevant. It’s impressive.

    3). Make the Ioniq 6 N concept a reality you cowards. I’ll buy it too. Don’t threaten me with a good time.

    4). If BMW made this and kept the price around 50k they’d sell every single one before it even hit a dealer lot. Why can’t we have nice things?

    Da Flush: I’m super bummed about this and am one of the 7-8 enthusiasts who actually like this class of vehicle. I really dig SUV styling, particularly the boxier stuff…but if you live in the city they’re just wildly impractical vehicles. Mini SUVs that keep the unique styling are super useful for those of us that need a versatile vehicle but don’t have a lot of space. It’s one of the reasons I wound up in a Kona N, and I unironically love the Bronco Sport and am happy it’s selling so well.

    The Renegade is a great looking car as well. I’d love to see more in this segment…I don’t have the aversion to crossovers that most enthusiasts do, so long as they’re unique and fun. For massive swaths of people they’re the most useful package for a daily. I was excited about the Compact Cruiser, and I wish they’d bring the tiny Jeep EV Europe is getting over here. Give me more mini trucks!

    1. The Kona N is pretty nice. I was initially put off by the new aero panel on the Kia Niro, but I am glad they are doing something that is visually distinctive. The Bronco Sport is great, though I wish they offered some other powertrain options, like a hybrid or, even better, PHEV. The Dodge Hornet might be interesting, too. Seeing some variety in the segment is definitely good.

      1. Certainly Toyota, but you can kind of see Honda that has promoted it itself as the largest maker of I.C.E. engines in the world (once you include all the motorcycle, lawnmovers and generators it makes) would be a little hesitant to go all in on B.E.V,’s.

        I wonder with both Toyota and Honda whether or need they see the potential for raw materials shortages for the Batteries in EV’s in the not-too-distant future, will mean there is opportunity for the fuel cell to final get a foothold in the market and they can get a lead on that. If this is the case, I’m not sure if they’re right but it will be interesting to see.

  10. Toyota saw the Jeep Recon and just gave up on the compact cruiser? As much as I dislike Stellantis quality, I’m sure they will sell very well and Toyota didn’t want any of that money anyway. I hope someone else steps up and does an compact Offroad EV.

  11. I can only say good riddance to this Toyota monstrosity. It looks like a re-born FJ Cruiser, better known as the ugliest automobile that ever disgraced the planet, even worse than the Aztek or the first-generation Multipla.

    1. It basically is. It’s just another CUV.

      Yeah, they rendered that one in green instead of one of the blander BMW colors….

      Everything on the id4 platform is hopelessly depressing. I’ve been more excited about washing machines.

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