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Toyota Adds Discounts for Tesla-Powered RAV4 EV

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) is discounting its all-electric RAV4 through low-cost lease and loan offers to boost demand for the slow-selling compact crossover, powered by a Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) battery pack and motor.

Toyota, the world’s biggest maker of hybrid autos, this month is promoting the option of a $299-a-month, three-year lease for the $49,800 light truck, or a 60-month, no-interest loan, according to the company’s website. The offers run through Sept. 3 and are available only in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions, the vehicle’s main markets, said Carly Schaffner, a company spokeswoman.

Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Co. (GM) have also turned to discounted leases to buoy their rechargeable models. Toyota said last year it would sell 2,600 RAV4 electric vehicles by the end of 2014. At the end of July, just 709 had been delivered since sales began last September.

“The mass market, for the most part, has been reluctant to buy these products, given the high cost of the technology,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at auto researcher Edmunds.com. “Toyota may not have done enough to promote the car’s Tesla connection — does anybody know it’s a Tesla underneath?”
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