Not a Good Look, Toyota

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Hiroko Tabuchi writing for The New York Times:

“Toyota has gone from a leading position to an industry laggard” in clean-car policy even as other automakers push ahead with ambitious electric vehicle plans, said Danny Magill, an analyst at InfluenceMap, a London-based think tank that tracks corporate climate lobbying. InfluenceMap gives Toyota a “D-” grade, the worst among automakers, saying it exerts policy influence to undermine public climate goals.

I was a big proponent of hydrogen cars about 15 years ago. I liked that they emitted zero pollutants, and only water would dribble out of the tailpipe. I also liked that they could be filled up in minutes rather than hours, which seemed like a big advantage in getting normal people to migrate to them.

A lot has happened in the past 15 years, and hydrogen cars had their fair share of problems as well. The industry isn't going that way anymore, and while it's easy for me to go, "well, I backed the wrong horse," apparently Toyota's backing of the technology is forcing them to try and hold back emission standards around the world so that they can play catch up.

Whether this will do any lasting damage to Toyota's brand is yet to be seen (but how often does corporate lobbying really hurt a company's brand?), but it's not a good look for them, in my opinion.