The Japanese automaker apparently got more than it bargained for after starting sales of its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle last month. On Thursday, Toyota announced plans to ramp up production starting next year.
Toyota will build 700 Mirai units this year, and will then bump that to 2,000 vehicles next year and 3,000 in 2017. The previous production plan had the same numbers, except for what would happen in 2017. The increase is coming because Toyota's already received pre-orders for 1,500 Mirai vehicles. With US and European sales slated to start later this year, Toyota didn't want to leave itself short-stocked.
Toyota confirmed what was already being surmised last month by the Japanese newspaper Nikkei, which said that Toyota was ready to spend almost $170 million boosting production capacity of the Mirai. Most of this year's sales will be in Japan, with the US and Europe gradually accounting for a larger chunk starting next year.
In November, the automaker disclosed details of the Mirai's initial US sales, saying that the model will be available in California this year for either a base price of $57,500 or a lease price of $499 a month for 36 months (with $3,649 due at signing). And if that sounds steep, remember that the hydrogen refueling, wherever it can be found, is free for as long as three years. Check out Toyota's press release on the bumps in production below.
Toyota City, Japan, January 22, 2015―Toyota Motor Corporation today announced that it will increase production of the "Mirai" fuel cell sedan, which launched in Japan on December 15, 2014. The new plan calls for production to increase from the 2015 level of 700 units to approximately 2,000 units in 2016 and approximately 3,000 units in 2017.
Considering the approximately 1,500 orders received in the first month of sales in Japan, and the upcoming launches in Europe and the United States later this year, it was decided that the supply structure should be adjusted to reflect the level of demand for the vehicle.
Sales plans for Japan, the U.S. and Europe following the production increases will be formulated taking into consideration each region's level of hydrogen infrastructure development, energy policies, car-purchasing subsidies, consumer demand, environmental regulations, and other factors.