Toyota defies skeptics and seals greatest week since 2009

Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corp.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DETROIT – Toyota engine The stock on Friday sealed its best week since 2009, when the automaker laid out a solid plan for future all-electric vehicles and kid Akio Toyoda became CEO of the Japanese company.

Shares of Toyota on the New York Stock Exchange closed at $164.35 a share on Friday, down 2.3% on the day but still up 10.6% week-on-week. This 5-day gain is the stock’s best week since April 2009, when the stock gained 14.5%.

Such a rally is not typical for the stock. It’s only the third double-digit weekly gain in more than two decades for the relatively well-performing but mundane stock. The company’s shares are up 20% so far in 2023.

The positive rebound this year comes as recent supply chain problems in the auto industry, including Toyota, eased and after Toyoda, the company’s founder’s grandson, announced plans to move from CEO to chairman after leaving the automaker had led for more than 13 years.

Toyoda, who resigned as CEO on April 1 and was succeeded by Koji Sato, has been criticized by some environmental groups and investors for not focusing fully on electric vehicles and producing hybrid and plug-in hybrids like that Prius continued and Prius Prime.

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Toyota stock in 2023.

While Toyota executives are increasing investment in electric vehicles, they argue that such cars and trucks are a solution, and not the solution, to meeting tougher global emissions standards and achieving carbon neutrality.

To counter skeptics about its strategy, the automaker offered a rare behind-the-scenes look at its future plans in Japan this week.

“Management has rarely disclosed the details of the technology under development in the past, and we felt the new management team’s commitment to ensuring competitiveness through electrification and intellectualization,” JPMorgan analyst Akira Kishimoto said in a note to investors this week .

Before its annual meeting on Wednesday, Toyota unveiled plans for a new generation of electric vehicles to competing industry leaders Tesla and China-based BYD. The company plans to launch next-generation electric vehicles starting in 2026, including vehicles with hyped “solid-state” batteries by 2027 or 2028.

The rise and fall of the Toyota Prius

Solid-state batteries can be lighter, have higher energy density, and provide greater range at a lower cost than today’s electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Takero Kato, president of Toyota’s battery electric vehicle factory, said Toyota is targeting a range of 1,000 kilometers or 620 miles for its electric vehicles. The plant aims to produce about 1.7 million vehicles by 2030, he said.

“A strategic focus on differentiation (in terms of technologies and business model) rather than scaling in 2025-30 and the firm’s strong ability to develop technologies to that effect are longer-term positives in our view,” said UBS analyst Kohei Takahashi in an investor statement on Tuesday.

Following the announcements, Toyota shareholders on Wednesday approved the company’s new leadership and rejected a shareholder proposal that called for Toyota to review its climate-related lobbying activities — while voting in line with the company’s recommendations.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Lim Hui Jie contributed to this report.

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