Toyota president Akio Toyoda has said that the Japanese manufacturer is a real automaker while Tesla isn’t, in reply to a query during a briefing, Bloomberg reported.

The remark followed Toyoda’s acknowledgement that Tesla’s valuation is greater than that of all seven Japanese automakers combined, Toyoda said, noting that Toyota can learn from Tesla in generating profit from software updates, renewable energy and CO2 emissions reduction, according to the report.

In July, Tesla had overtaken Toyota to become the world’s most valuable car brand by market value, with Tesla valued at US$205 billion (RM878.5 billion) and Toyota at US$200 billion (RM857.1 billion) in market capitalisation at the time.

The Japanese brand claims the high ground when it comes to offering a comprehensive product line, however. “We are losing when it comes to share price, but when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers,” said Toyoda. Tesla sold 367,500 vehicles, or 3.4% of Toyota’s 10.74 million-unit output last year, Bloomberg reported.

Though Toyota was the first to release hybrid vehicles to the mass market, it has been relatively late with fully electric vehicles; the C-HR EV and Izoa duo for China premiered last year

The Japanese manufacturer is stepping up its electric vehicle development and manufacturing efforts, with the signing on a joint venture with BYD for the development of EVs, and the new company – named BYD Toyota EV Company – was set to commence operations in May.

Last year, Toyota was reported to have plans for investing US$2 billion (RM8.26 billion) into EV production in Indonesia over the subsequent four years, beginning with the development of hybrid vehicles. Though Toyota was the first to bring hybrid electric vehicles to the mass market, it has been a relative latecomer to the fully electric scene, with the C-HR EV and Izoa making their debuts at Auto Shanghai last year.

In January, Nikkei Asia reported that Toyota plans to sell 500,000 electric vehicles a year by 2025, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the Palo Alto, California-based EV maker “should be selling a few million cars a year” around the same time, according to Bloomberg.