Toyota launches bZ4x in Japan as a lease model only
Toyota's first mass-produced electric SUV, bZ4x is open for sale in Japan. However, contrary to other world markets, the compact SUV can only be leased in its homeland.
Toyota isn't confident in Japanese buyers embracing the new pure-electric bZ4x as a private purchase. So the car is made exclusively available through leasing to help remove doubt over the battery life and the resale value.
Insurance and repair costs, plus battery warranty all piled up, the lease will be equivalent to $39,000 for the first four years. Toyota aims at shoving 5,000 leases for the bZ4x in its upcoming fiscal year. Private customers can get hold of a bZ4x through KINTO subscription with a maximum of ten years.
Leasing as leverage
Analysts point at Toyota possibly missing out on a window of opportunity with this strategy for its first wide-scale BEV car, referring to Tesla's gradually appearing in the streets of Tokyo. However, the figures show that EV adoption is progressing slowly in urbanized Japan.
With a lack of charging infrastructure as a retardant, the market maintains its strong appetite for conventional hybrids. Last year, the BEV share didn't rise above a modest 1.2%.
Furthermore, it hasn't been uncommon in young markets to leverage EV adoption by leasing. In the leading continent Europe, it was - and still is - a fundamental way of persuading employees and customers to switch to electric mobility.
Although Toyota has vowed to release 30 BEV models by 2030, it is cutting through the transition with a double-sided sword. The leasing strategy could reveal hesitation or caution on one hand or a solid local market insight on the other hand. Because who knows the Japanese public better than Toyota?
The bZ4x is Toyota's first volume BEV and is also issued as a Lexus (RZ450h) and a Subaru (Solterra).
Image source: Toyota