By Satoshi Sugiyama
TOYOTA, Japan (Reuters) -Toyota Motor Corp, under scrutiny from investors over its commitment to embrace battery electric vehicles, said on Wednesday it needs to offer a variety of choices to suit different environments and customer needs.
The world’s largest automaker by sales kicked off its annual general meeting on Wednesday under fire from environmentally minded investors for not phasing out gasoline-powered cars and for its lobbying on climate policy.
Once a favourite with environmentalists for the hybrid Prius model it popularised more than two decades ago, Toyota argues that hybrids still make sense in markets where infrastructure isn’t ready to support a faster move to battery electric vehicles.
The company last year committed 8 trillion yen ($60 billion) to electrify its cars by 2030, half of which is slated to develop full EVs. Still, it expects annual sales of such cars to reach only 3.5 million vehicles by the end of the decade, or around a third of current sales.
Like other car makers, Toyota has been plagued by a severe shortage of semiconductor chips that has forced it to repeatedly cut production.
On Wednesday, head of Toyota’s purchasing group, Kazunari Kumakura, said at the meeting that he expects the chip shortage to continue.
(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Richard Pullin)