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Toyota unloads Tesla shares with end of EV ties

Electric Vehicles, AUTO World, Car News, Industry News

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Saturday it had sold all shares in Tesla Inc. by the end of 2016, having cancelled its tie-up with the U.S. automaker to jointly develop electric vehicles.

In 2010, Japan's biggest automaker acquired around a 3 percent stake in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker for $50 million.

Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said the company had sold all of its shares in Tesla as of the end of 2016, as part of a regular, periodic review of its investments, after it had initially sold down a portion in 2014.

"Our development partnership with Tesla ended a while ago, and since there has not been any new developments on that front, we decided it was time to sell the remaining stake," he said.

Toyota held 1.43 percent in Tesla as of July 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Toyota's original investment in Tesla came as automakers were competing to introduce more fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S. Toyota also sold a shuttered California factory to Tesla for $42 million.

The two companies then started to jointly develop RAV4 electric vehicles in Canada in 2011 and later sold about 2,500 units over three years amid culture clashes and recalls.

In May 2010, as the emerging alliance took shape, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the partnership "historic" and said Toyota was a company he had long admired.

In describing his test drive of the Tesla Roadster about a month earlier, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said he felt "the wind of the future".

In November, the Japanese automaker appointed its president to lead a newly-formed EV division, flagging its commitment to develop a technology that it has been slow to embrace.

The department comprises a new in-house unit to plan Toyota's strategy to develop and market EVs as part of the company's efforts to keep pace with tightening global emissions regulations.

Posted by Maye Rosales on 5th June 2017