However, Toyota plans to sell just 100 models of its newest electric vehicle, a subcompact EV called "eQ."
Chester Dawson - WSJ
- September 24, 2012
Toyota put its weight behind hybrids on Monday, disclosing plans to roll out 21 new or redesigned gasoline-electric powered vehicles by the end of 2015 and playing down the near-term outlook for other alternative-fuel technologies such as all-electric vehicles.
The Japanese auto maker predicted its sales of hybrid models world-wide will likely top 1 million this year and every year through 2015.
While the rollout and forecast signal Toyota's confidence in its hybrid strategy, the company acknowledges costs must still be cut further to increase profitability and spur sales.
"Profits from conventional [gas] powered cars are still higher, so we need to reduce hybrid costs more in order to promote their diffusion," Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and R&D head, said at a news conference.
Hybrids are becoming more mainstream in Japan. Toyota's sales of the gasoline-electric vehicles last year reached 310,000, or 26% of its total sales. But they remain a niche in other key markets such as the U.S. Last year, Toyota sold 178,587 hybrid models in the U.S., just a fraction of the 1.64 million vehicles it sold there overall in 2011.
The Japanese auto maker has high hopes for its "plug-in" hybrid, which can be refueled either at the gas pump or by plugging in to a standard electrical outlet. Cumulative sales of its Prius PHV, which debuted earlier this year, reached 15,600 last month, including 8,400 in Japan, 6,100 in the U.S. and 1,100 in Europe... [Read More]