Toyota Mirai To Be Hand Built To Order

DEC 6 2014 BY MARK KANE 26

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

Toyota is convinced that the future of electric cars is plugless.  However, at the same time the automaker isn’t going to hurry up with volume production of Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.

For the US, there are only 3,000 units scheduled by the end of 2017. In Japan, where 200 Mirai were ordered, most come from government and corporate fleets.

First reviews of Toyota Mirai are indicating high quality and now we know why.

The Toyota Mirai is hand built to order in the famous LFA Works at Toyota’s Motomachi assembly plant in Toyota City, where $375,000 sports car Lexus LFA was assembled.

This move to build it at LFA Works by hand is related with production volume being limited to a few hundred units annually in the first year.

The drivetrain and other components are manufactured nearby at Toyota’s Honsha plant.

Masamoto Maekawa, executive vice president for domestic sales, stated:

“Each unit is carefully built with utmost care. So therefore, the production volume might be limited. During the initial stages, delivery time might be delayed. The 200 orders are mostly from government and corporate fleets.”

Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai and former chief engineer for the Prius plug-in hybrid adds that Toyota is cautious with ramping up production:

“Toyota is building each car to order, not en masse, partly because it wants to prudently match output to demand and not overproduce.”

Regardless of demand, maximum production output at the LFA Works stand at 10 Mirais a day. It would be roughly 10,000 units run by the end of 2017 if we understand these figures right and then probably some new generation FCV will appear.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Toyota


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26 Comments on "Toyota Mirai To Be Hand Built To Order"

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Hand Built = CARB Car and Nothing More.
CARB should abandon this tax payer funded Dead End.

It’s basically a scam!

The Tesla Roadster was also hand built. I’m not sure it indicates anything more than that it is a brand new technology requiring a learning curve for manufacturing.

Thats true for Tesla, not as much with the Mirai.

I e-mailed Toyota to ask them to build an EV. To be fair to them I had a reply from a real human (I think) the next day:

Dear krona2k,

Thank you for your email to Toyota and for providing us with your feedback regarding Electric Vehicles.

Mr Scott is the U.S manager for Toyota’s Advanced Technology Vehicles and may have been commenting on Toyota’s decision to produce Fuel Cell technology which will be released in 2015.

I am delighted to hear how satisfied you have been with your Nissan Leaf, as well as for your constructive and enthusiastic encouragement. I can confirm that I have forwarded your feedback on to the relevant department for their records.

If we can be of any further assistance please feel free to contact us on XXXX XXX XXXX.

Yours sincerely,

Toyota Customer Advisor

…and they are only losing a 100,000 or so on each one – CARB credits whatever those are…

That figure is a guess by an ex-politician with no engineering, scientific, or manufacturing background, and no secret inside information on Toyota’s FCV manufacturing costs. And surprise, the ex-politician offers no info on how he arrived at his figures. Sounds like FUD to me.

Even if it is FUD it is probably closer to the truth than what Toyota would report.

Yes, it seems them have painted themselves into a corner on this one. Any backing away now or changing focus would be an admission that they were wrong, and they would lose face. Better to lose money?

Yep. There is no way a unique car produced at less than ten units per day, probably about two or three units currently, can be made profitably at that price.

Toyota is making few cars because it is losing money on every one of them. The whole thing is a marketing exercise. Just what they are thinking internally is hard to say, but it sounds like they are not willing to invest in EVs because they do not see the market as profitable in whatever time scale that Toyota management requires for profitability.

Ghosn’s Nissan is doing the opposite. Ghosn has said he does not know the timing, but knows that Nissan should be an EV first mover as this will result in the company dominating the market down the road. The paradox is that Ghosn, who made his fame as Le Cost Killer), and is not Japanese, is taking the more Japanese, long-term commitment approach. Meanwhile Toyota seems to be thinking like GM, like old GM especially.

It will be hugely interesting to see how this plays out over the next five to ten years.

Has anyone else mentioned that it looks as if it has been hit by the ugly stick?

The interior is weird in a bad way and the bodywork looks as if it was designed by Inspector Gadget.

Thanks for pointing that out James. 🙂

I don’t see how anybody could look at the Mirai without having to suppress an urge to vomit. I guess, like most compliance cars, it’s deliberately designed to be as ugly as sin to make sure we don’t all want one.

Ha ha!!!

Wonder if Toyota is going to pay to help build out the hydrogen refuling stations, too?

Ahahahaha…. 😀

Hydrogen has no future in passenger cars. I suspect it could be forced into buses and semi trucks but makes less sense than EREV diesel or EREV CNG for those unless local emissions are critical.

A bit player for sure. Places like Iceland where specific circumstances make hydrogen viable, or heavily subsidized, the Japanese market, are about the only places to go.
For semi trucks fuel is getting much cheaper and cng is also more competitive.
Since they are also twice as expensive to maintain as diesel, real world experience, versus ev’s which are less than half the maintenance of ice’s, it seems hydrogen fuel cell vehicle are destined to become a footnote in vehicular transportation history.

And? Same applies to the BMW i8.

You mean in that they are built to order?

Um. No. Totally different business models.

BMW isn’t selling the i8 for under $60k, each…

I think Toyota is displaying a case of “Sunk Cost Fallacy” here.

Basically they’ve invested too much money into hydrogen fuel cells, and if they were to just up and abandon it completely, they’d have nothing to show for it aside from how expensive it is to make an FCV.

As a result, their leadership probably rationalizes that it’s better to release a half-hearted attempt at an FCV, even if they lose a lot of money, which will be covered by their more profitable vehicles.

They may also be hoping that the Mirai will be “Prius 2.0”, in that their first hybrid also lost money at first, but eventually become profitable. However the Prius didn’t require a new fueling infrastructure, so I doubt they’re going to see the same success.

They probably would’ve been better served working on an electric vehicle, which would be simpler to build and maintain, and they’d certainly have the manufacturing clout to bring battery prices down like Tesla is planning to do if they went this route.

Even if they just replaced the battery pack in the prius with LiOn packs of the same physical size they could have likely made a huge stride. Even if the car didnt have a plug it would have upped the mileage some.

Because is the new Rols Royce

Hard to imagine many sales outside of government and fleets that are washing the other hand.

Seems like a very expensive and risky PR strategy.

“prudently match output to demand and not overproduce” i.e. they are not expecting to sell any.

This car is so ugly, it makes the oddball i3 actually look better!

If the Mirai is to be successful, Toyota are going to have to find a way to lower the price $50,000+ for this car is too much, why buy this when you could buy a very nice spec BMW for the same kind of price? And if you are still wanting to go green, the hybrid version isn’t even out of the question, coming in brand new at just over $60,000.