Toyota Mirai—Oh My
When you’re first to market with a hydrogen-powered sedan with intentions of selling more than a handful to a limited number of individuals, you have to temper your expectations in terms of how well you may do.
After all, there isn’t a whole lot of available infrastructure—anywhere—for refueling the vehicle.
And let’s face it: there aren’t a whole lot of people who are sufficiently gutsy to throw down a non-trivial amount of money to buy something that could be troublesome.
Toyota, when introducing the Mirai to the world this past November, was nothing if not circumspect as regards its expectations.
During a press event in Newport Beach, California, Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Board, Toyota Motor Corporation, stated, “We believe our production volume will steadily increase from about seven hundred in 2015 to the tens of thousands in 2020s.”
Seems as though they’re going to have to work a little overtime this year.
It turns out that in Japan, where the Mirai has first gone on sale (in the U.S. it will go on sale this summer), they’ve received some 1,500 orders in the first month. They had planned for 400 units in Japan—for the entire year.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.
Last year Buick sold 219,231 vehicles in the U.S.
Outside of a pickup truck, there is no vehicle that’s sold in greater units than the Toyota RAV4. So when they developed the new generation, they had a whole lot to consider.