Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp TM has reportedly said it would continue developing and making hybrid and other low-emission vehicles amid shareholder pressure to embrace electric cars.
What Happened: The world’s largest automaker by sales told shareholders it needed to offer a number of options to suit different markets and customers, Nikkei Asia reported, citing the automaker’s executives.
"We will not, cannot, limit the choices [of our customers], because Toyota is truly global and serves customers in different regions," the report said, citing Toyota's executive vice president, Masahiko Maeda.
The automaker held the annual meet at its headquarters in Aichi Prefecture, western Japan. The event also drew protests from climate activists calling for more action from the company.
Maeda told investors that the goal was "carbon neutrality," and not simply the proliferation of EVs.
Why It Matters: Toyota has argued for years that fully electric vehicles are not suited for all markets. But the Japanese automaker was at the forefront of the change when it launched the first generation, mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle Prius in 1997.
Last year, Toyota set a goal of selling 3.5 million EVs per year by 2030. For perspective, the legacy automaker sold 10.5 million vehicles last year.
Germany’s Volkswagen Group VWAGY, which has set aside billions of dollars to switch to EVs like many legacy rivals, sold 8.9 million vehicles last year. EV leader Tesla Inc TSLA sold nearly a million cars last year.
Price Action: Toyota shares closed 1.1% higher at $156.7 on Wednesday, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
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