TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s ( 7203.T ) leasing unit said on Wednesday it will begin offering over-the-air safety updates to the new Prius, betting it can use methods pioneered by Tesla to lower lease costs. . And preserve the quality of used cars in Japan.
Toyota’s leasing affiliate said the lease program requires customers to opt-in for service expected to reduce monthly lease payments by 10%.
The service will mark the first time Toyota will feature its safety features, including collision avoidance systems, for on-road driving, said Shinya Kotera, president of Japan’s Toyota Leisure unit KINTO.
Tesla has regularly used over-the-air software updates to improve the charging speed of its electric vehicles, unlock additional battery range, and address security issues.
Kotera said Toyota’s approach will focus on cost for a newly released version of the 25-year-old hybrid Prius that the Japanese automaker sees as a pillar of its strategy even as other major automakers turn to EVs.
“Tesla’s customers are, simply put, high-income earners, and many of them are willing to pay for new and better things so their products are a hit with that segment of the market,” Kotera said in an interview. Reuters on Friday.
“Toyota customers aren’t like that. They’re not someone who’s going to pay extra for a new technology. They’re looking for something good, reliable and cheap.”
Toyota unveiled the new Prius last month amid criticism from ESG investors and environmental groups for its slow rollout of fully electric cars.
The leasing unit wants to expand the service to other vehicles in a year or two and is considering plans to make it a global offering, Kotera said.
($1 = 136.8800 yen)
Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Edited by Stephen Coates
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