Japan's top automaker plans to boost global sales of gas-electric Prius and other vehicles.
Reuters - Jan. 23, 2007
Toyota Prius II production to increase even further.
TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is aiming for a 40 percent jump in its global sales of gas-electric hybrid vehicles to 430,000 units this year.
Japan's top auto maker said it also aims to boost domestic production of Prius hybrid cars by 40 percent to 280,000 units.
In 2006, Toyota's hybrid sales rose 33 percent from a year earlier to 312,500 units.
Hybrids, particularly Toyota's Prius, have gained in popularity among environmentally conscious Americans, in part due to high gasoline prices.
Accounting for about 1 percent of new car sales in the United States, a hybrid couples a traditional internal combustion engine with a battery to allow for lower gasoline use.
Toyota has forecast that its group - including Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co. - will sell 9.34 million vehicles in 2007, up 6 percent from an estimated 8.80 million units last year.
Toyota last November formed an equity tie-up with truck maker Isuzu Motors Ltd. in a bid to catch up in clean diesel, a rival technology to its signature hybrid system. In 2005, it took a stake in Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., partly as a way to quickly add production capacity in North America.
U.S.-based rival automakers General Motors Corp., DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group, and Ford this week will push for government aid for hybrid technologies.