The fact Toyota is moving too slowly toward electrification has been acknowledged by the automaker itself, which has pledged to change that under the new leadership.
But there's another indicator, a more accurate one, that shows how Toyota is losing customers to other brands because of the lack of choices it offers to EV buyers. A recent report from used car retailer CarMax (via Jalopnik) shows that Toyota was the most traded in brand for used EVs in the United States from September 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023.
Using data from CarMax transactions, the report revealed that 12 percent of vehicles traded in for used EVs were Toyotas, marking the second straight year Toyota has held the position. The number two spot was a tie between Ford and BMW with 8 percent, while Honda took third place with 7 percent.
Data show that the most common trade-in for the Tesla Model 3, the most popular EV at CarMax during the period, was the Honda Civic and the second most common was the Toyota Tacoma.
For shoppers buying a Nissan Leaf – the third most popular EV at CarMax from this data reporting – the most common trade-in was a Toyota Prius. This is clear sign that Toyota owners are making the shift to battery electric vehicles more than owners of other brands, but why is that?
One obvious answer could be that there are more Toyota passenger cars on US roads than Fords and BMWs, so it's only natural that the brand dominates in this area as well.
There's also the fact Toyota has attracted many eco-conscious buyers ever since it introduced the Prius hybrid in 2000 followed by many hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of its best-selling models.
The trouble for Toyota is that these buyers are now looking to upgrade to a battery electric vehicle, and the Japanese brand's only offering in this segment, the bZ4X SUV, is a rather underwhelming product. Furthermore, the used EV market for Toyotas is almost non-existent.
The CarMax report also says that search volume for EVs has doubled in the last year, driven by higher gas prices throughout the United States. SUVs were the most common trade-in for EVs, making up 40 percent of vehicles that buyers leave at the lot, while sedans and coupes accounted for 29 percent of trade-ins for EVs; luxury vehicles came in third at 17 percent.
The top five used EV models that were purchased through CarMax were the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, Nissan Leaf, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Chevrolet Bolt EV.