Paul Van der Burgh

Paul Van der Burgh

Toyota will commence UK sales of its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell model in September.

Speaking at an event to mark Toyota's fiftieth anniversary of sales in the UK, Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota GB's recently appointed MD & President, told journalists that Mirai volumes would be small at first, just as they were when Toyota began sales of its Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid model in the UK fifteen years ago.

"We know that sales will be small at first," he said. "But we expect hydrogen technology to build towards major volumes by 2030."

Van der Burgh told just-auto that Toyota places high importance on being at the forefront of developments in emerging advanced automotive technologies. "The numbers will be in the tens to begin with, but we want to be innovating and providing the latest technologies for our customers. This is a technology area that will become very much more important in the future and it's important to make a start and Mirai is off to a very solid start."

Toyota's Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car launched in Japan last December and Toyota said it is headed for the US, UK and some European markets during 2015.

Earlier this year, Toyota said it would raise Mirai output above previous plans as orders were running above expectations.

The new plan calls for production to increase from 700 units this year to approximately 2,000 in 2016 and around 3,000 in 2017.

"Toyota decided the supply structure should be adjusted to reflect the level of demand for the vehicle, in view of around 1,500 orders being received in the first month of sales in Japan and the prospect of the model being launched in Europe and the US later this year," it said in a statement.

"Sales plans for Japan, the US and Europe will be formulated, taking into consideration the level of hydrogen infrastructure development, energy policies, car purchasing subsidies, consumer demand, environmental regulations and other factors in each region."

See also: INTERVIEW: Tony Walker eyes growth for Toyota UK manufacturing