Analyst: Toyota helped by global trends, but hybrid car momentum may not last

NHK interviewed an auto-industry analyst about Toyota's robust earnings. Christopher Richter, Senior Autos Analyst at CLSA, said global trends helped the company, but the momentum for hybrid vehicles may not last.

Richter said the previous year was "the year that the global vehicle market recovered from COVID and recovered from the chip shortage. So globally, you had growth in of global auto sales, not just Toyota sales, but everywhere, something to the tune of 12 or 11%, year on year."

He said such double-digit growth was "very unusual for the global auto industry," whose growth is usually in the single digits.

He also cited last year's "very high pricing," as auto companies, including Toyota, "generated as a result of the shortages of vehicles that we had seen over the last few years, and the general inflation in America and a lot of other countries."

But Richter warned that Toyota cannot depend solely on sales of hybrid cars to boost its bottom line, because electric vehicles are becoming more of a force.

"Hybrids are very profitable vehicles for Toyota," he said. "But I think this trend for hybrids is probably not going to last forever."

He noted that other automakers, including some in China, are figuring out ways to eventually make EVs "very affordably."

He predicted that issues which are now "sort of roadblocks to mass market consumers adopting EVs," such as charging infrastructure and resale values, "will go away."

Richter said Toyota needs to find ways to stay competitive in an industry that is changing rapidly. He said the company has the technology and the cash reserves to do so, but Toyota will face challenges from up-and-coming EV makers, especially in China.