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Toyota Motor Corporation moved to defend its decision not to sign up to an emissions pledge adopted by a number of global automakers ahead of this week’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, UK, this week, and said its global business made it “difficult” to make such a commitment.

Smaller automakers such as Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Geely’s Volvo Cars were among those that pledged to work towards achieving 100% zero emissions new passenger vehicle and van sales in major global markets by 2035 or earlier.

A number of national and local governments and companies operating in the transport sector also signed up to the policy pledge proposed by the UK government at the summit.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, along with other major global automakers Volkswagen, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis and Renault-Nissan, refrained from signing up to the policy pledge.

Kohei Yoshida, general manager at the dedicated zero emissions vehicle division Toyota ZEV Factory, said in an interview “there are many ways to approach carbon neutrality” other than signing up to this pledge, adding “it is very important to make sure that we have all countries and regions, different environments and different places, in mind. It is difficult for us to commit to the joint statement at this stage”.

Yoshida said it would “take time to establish infrastructure for electric, battery and fuel cell vehicles in developing economies such as those in Africa and Latin America”, markets where Toyota is strong.

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By GlobalData

He added “more important than having a joint statement is the fact that each and every player is taking up the challenge and trying to make efforts towards carbon neutrality”.