Why is Toyota limiting production of Rav4 Primes?

Discussion in 'Toyota Hybrids and EVs' started by The Big Sleaze, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. The Big Sleaze

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    FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM. 2021 Toyota RAV4 PRIME Wagon XSE | Toyota
    Where is pic of this gas tank design and a few arrows and explanation of What Went Wrong?
    And whats wrong with the shape of the gas tank on Rav4 Hybrids, what will happen if I top-off with gas-can and funnel, and why can't Toyota make a replacement gas tank without hedging about "may reoccur"?
    I've known guys that custom weld gas tanks for boats (that have a whole slew of boat only regs and rules) and it ain't rocket science to make one of any shape and have it "crash resistant" as you please (just a bit more steel). Its also pretty easy to make them in any weird shape to max fuel capacity and put weight in right places.

    An outfit like Toyota could bang out new shape of gas tanks in steel, aluminum or plastic for not MUCH more and tell customers "Ok, now your tank holds 17gallons! 3 more than original! But with armored steel option it will weigh an extra 20lbs not counting gas", and everyone would be happy and no would care about the 20lbs, and maybe Toyota could slap on a factory anti-cat theft plate while they are at it. (wouldn't cat-theft be much more of an issue with much higher riding 4x4?)

    Anyway, why Toyota limiting Rav4 Prime production??? IIRC they announced limit to 5000/yr for USA BEFORE any gas tank issue surfaced (not even sure if R-Prime has same tank issue).
    Everyone was raving about how great the Rav4 Prime was gonna be, with longer EV mode to qualify for more Govt rebates, and 300+hp for real towing, real 4x4 with great Prime MPG (and EV quiet mode for wilderness creeping). IIRC MSRP was gonna start at under $34K and I was starting to think I should've waited and/or gonna be talking myself into becoming a two-Prime-person.
     
  2. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    I seem to remember reading it it’s a battery production capacity issue.
     
  3. The Big Sleaze

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    Seems like they are ramping up batt production.Toyota And Panasonic Announce Expansion Of Battery Production
    I also noticed used Prime batt packs are selling for $1000 on Ebay, which is cheap enough for me to wonder what hoops I'd need to jump through to throw an additional (or couple!)Traction Battery on-top of my standard setup (and where it would go, lol). I was thinking if rear hitch is rated for 200lbs, if a 300lbs Big Batt was carried vertically up close to bumper that would be OK, and then maybe another in home made upholstery-friendly box and secure it with seatbelts (3 sets of seatbelts should hold a 300lb solid object just fine even in crash). Actually just the center seatbelts would be needed and I'd still have a "2+2" instead of nice roomy rear seating. Yes, interior or exterior box would have provision for fans, etc. Make out of PyroGuard fire proof plywood.

    But the fairly low $1000 price makes me think at least the already processed materials can't be too expensive or these would be snapped up and shipped back to Toyota or other makers for re-process into new batts for new Plug-Ins.
     
  4. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Toyota choice of rollout speed makes sense, looking at their history and the fleet as a whole.

    There is much to do still to prepare the fleet for the next step forward... which RAV4 Prime demonstrates... offering a plug.

    To set that stage, dealers much embrace change. Doing that requires seeing the corporate initiative become a culture of change. Words don't mean much to owners of dealership. Actions speak loudly. Seeing a steady supply of RAV4 hybrid, along with the a successful phaseout of traditional models (starting with Sienna & Venza) is a solid demonstration of intent. We are also seeing the rollout of Corolla & Yaris cross in other markets, which both directly address the shift away from sedans.

    Coming in 2021 is some clarity of what will follow. We see BEV rollout taking place in China & Europe and we know the e-TNGA platform will be getting more attention. There's Prius too. It could be the next step, phasing out the hybrid model for a plug-in hybrid only offering. If carefully timed, it could coincidence nicely with a big ramp-up of RAV4 Prime. The catch is being able to take advantage of the production in Kentucky and finding out what the Biden administration has in store. Don't forget about the partnership with Panasonic just finalized in April either.

    Long story short, rushing serves no purpose but there is much to be gained from taking things a little slower. After all, most consumers still know little to nothing about plug-in vehicles.
     
  5. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    I found it:
    2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime price marked up as battery supply issue pinches production
     
  6. The Big Sleaze

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    I don't know, John. Seems like Rav4 Prime was getting the best press since the 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang and very strong "consumer interest" because the dual mode Plug Concept was very popular but there is also a huge stigma many people have about any Prius (go figure), and everyone wants a small SUV or "crossover". I'd say "strike while the iron is hot" and "if they are buying we are selling".

    Rav4 Prime ain't some exotic super-car (well, maybe in MY opinion it is) where artificially limiting supply to jack up price might make sense. IIRC as soon as they announced Rav4 Prime specs there was strong mainstream demand.

    And good luck getting Dealers to "embrace change" without first unleashing a wholesale bloodbath of Biblical proportions. Not a single Dealer I talked to knew anything about any of the massive GOVT rebates that I'm sure were main reason for most Prime sales. Only one way up in N. CA has stuff on website about Govt rebates. When I asked a Dealer if they had any Primes with enough juice for short EV mode test drive they went into full idiot drama mode about how charging their Primes would cost "$50,000 a month, and who has that?!?!?!". I also asked a couple Dealers (including Service Dept personal) about charging main batt by just driving around running engine and they all gave flatout wrong answers.
    Its been SOP for any rechargeable device to now ship fully charged (no waiting to play with new toy), so I'm guessing there is some legal/insurance reason they don't charge them in Japan if Dealers can't afford 25-cents worth of juice in their "Dealer Prep" scam.
    This is why Tesla tried (and IIRC failed) to not have any "Dealers" involved.
     
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  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you've pretty much nailed it
     
  8. The Big Sleaze

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    And you could go to any Dealership that has a Rav4 Prime to sell for extra $10,000 markup over MSRP and none of them will mention "But you can also get total $8500 back from Feds and CA, so its really only a $1500 markup, or less than 4% for this HIGHLY sought after wonder-car".

    No, there is no LEGAL reason the Dealer can't mention the Govt money, they are just that clueless, which is even more amazing given the rebates were not the brain-child of US lawmakers but were of course the result of lobbying by (mostly) Toyota.

    I guess I'll have to wait for 2022, which is OK because you generally don't want to buy the very first model year of a car, and I hope they fix that gas tank issue.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    our son was interested in the rav 4 prime, but 60k is tesla territory
     
  10. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Most likely reason is the battery shortage Toyota faces.
    Second, less likely, reason may be that Toyota needs about 5000 sales for ZEV credits. When they need more ZEV credits, they will sell more.
     
  11. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That reaction can result in major losses. It's a trap that's easy to fall into. Gain in the short-term does not always equate to sustainable & profitable business in the long-term. In fact, with a high-volume, low-margin market, it tends to be a really bad path to follow. This isn't basic economics. Some of it is quite complex and the means of sharing that type of detail in a venue like this is nearly impossible. Instead, we often end up with a lot of rhetoric and worthless talking-points.

    Step back. Consider how Toyota contributes 10,000,000 vehicles to the 90,000,000 annual market. Think about the difference between selling a limited number expensive subsidized vehicles to early-adopters verses an on-going challenge of selling to the masses. Even without any noise from competing forces, the process of pushing out new technology to an audience fixed in its way is a monumental process. Overcoming that cannot be rushed.

    There are very real problems even when you do want to rush. If the "hot" didn't reach beyond a niche market, consequences of Innovator's Dilemma become all too real. If there actually is a wide audience willing to buy, consequences of the Osborne Effect become all too real. In other words, there's a careful balance which speed is an important consideration.
     
  12. The Big Sleaze

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    I'd rather have a Toyota, regardless. Tesla isn't a real car company and uses a mish-mash of parts from real car companies to put out a specially car with low reliability rankings. Sounds like DeLorean all over again, except for instead of being propped up by good honest drug dealing its propped up by funds taken from taxpayers by force. IIRC Tesla doesn't make money selling cars, they make money selling "green" credits other real car companies are required to come up with, or else. But Govt Gibs and Corp Welfare Queen stuff aside, I'd have to say the success (did create a sought after new type of car) of upstart Tesla is all the reason we need to never bail out one of the Big Three automakers. They need to adapt or die (hopefully die) like any other business. Auto making ain't like fresh food or medical care that NEEDS to be in constant even supply. If all the Big Three died today not much would happen besides minor price flux in auto sales, for a couple months.
     
  13. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    1. My 2019 has the gas tank fill problem fixed with a Customer Satisfaction Program tank and sensor replacement and re-calibration. Works fine, no loss of MPG with the old tank or new. The flaw cost me an extra 15 seconds a fill max, big deal. I have posted the CSP and the T-SB that dealers use to qualify your car for the replacements on Rav4world. 13k miles and the Rav4 does what I bought it to do.

    2. The Ford Mustang-EV is attracting interest from potential customers but the $5 to $15k over MSRP is not pleasing them. Dealers want to cash in on the new shiny thing. Customers want bragging rights.

    3. With countries now almost requiring low or zero emission cars, expect any maker to prioritize serving those markets with their cars that can qualify. Witness the VW EVs getting sold there in volume and the US getting sample quantities.

    4. If you can't make your own batteries, you are a captive of a very competitive market.

    I never knew that, shortly after WW II, VW was largely kept alive by a purchase of 20k cars by the Brits who needed transport for occupying soldiers and staff. Up to that point, they were likely to have gone under. Car makers go from rags to riches and then to rags sometimes.
     
  14. The Big Sleaze

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    IIRC Toyota was famously losing over a $1000 per Prius sold for several years and that was considered one of the all time great business strategies because of some "company image" for being "green" etc that I don't get. Early Prius was ugly and constant butt of jokes, while rest of Toyota lineup was generally highly regarded.

    If there was one segment I'd bet was going to be solid for next few years it would be PlugInHybrid small SUV, and if I was Toyota I'd be willing to lose (a little) money rushing them to market to become the defacto standard ahead of the pack.

    Still wondering exactly what the problem with batt-bottle neck, given they've been making lots of very similar batts for Prius Primes for years and materials cost etc doesn't seem to be an issue.

    Still REALLY wondering about the fuel tank issue. What COULD it be? Some unfortunate flange that sneezes too much splash to vent to gooses CARB pump into thinking its topped off?

    Ticks me off that both Toyota and "automotive press" are so coy about the most basic facts of the issue. I guess sorta get that Toyota Corp will be, well, "corporate" but what about "the press"? Can't one of these "professionals" have a good private shop pull a tank and see what might be going on?
     
  15. The Big Sleaze

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    Now I'm really confused. How was a car's sensor stopping the gas station's pump from filling the tank all the way???

    Is "sensor" some vent tube???

    EDIT: oh, sensor AND tank replacement.
     
    #15 The Big Sleaze, Dec 27, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  16. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Only the first Roadster used parts from another car company. All the rest use their own parts. Their motors are the best in the industry now.

    As for the Rav4 Prime, it is a 2021 model year. Small numbers were all that were planned for 2020. Toyota could make more, but they already gone through their available battery supply. Getting more is possible, but at higher cost. Instead of possibly selling at a loss, Toyota chose to wait until their contracted battery supply for the actual 2021 production became available.
     
  17. DGH

    DGH Thread Terminator

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  18. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    if the % of automotive parts from, 'murica' are what's important, perhaps consider a Honda or corvette
    Every US-made car is an import. That's bad news for automakers

    As U.S. battery modules become more & more U.S. made, the Honda will loose it's 1st place as "most" U.S. made;
    Will the Tesla Model 3 be the most American-made car? | EVANNEX Aftermarket Tesla Accessories

    it's Toyota trucks that are currently the highest percentage of U.S. made parts, at 85% as it avoids a lot of tariffs.

    parts.jpg
    .
     
    #18 hill, Dec 27, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  19. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    Toyota did come up with an explanation in their letter to owners. They said (accurate or not) that the tanks deformed resulting in the fuel sender tilting resulting in a larger reserve and less fuel before the low fuel warning and the fuel gauge being inaccurate. The new tank is the same shape but has more internal structural integrity. My replacement is working well.

    The problem was only in the rav4 hybrids, not the gas or Prime models.
     
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  20. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    You are free to read the thousands of postings including T-SBs and CSPs and pictures of the fuel fill fix I've posted in threads on RAV4 forums. Or you can just take my word for it, the fix works. It replaces the entire tank. I got the first fix at my dealer since I had also been the first to report the issue and they let me take pictures of the parts as they came out of the box. Japan built cars have a known VIN cut-over point where they switched to the new parts. Canada and Kentucky built cars are an unknown at this point.

    BTW, the old gas tank assembly never cost you a single MPG.

    And the fix was tank, sensor and re-calibration. Ref T-SB-0109-20
     
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