View Full Version : Toyota Says It Plans Eventually to Offer an All-Hybrid Fleet

09-15-2005, 03:45 PM
Link to story on NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/automobiles/14toyota.html?ex=1284350400&en=418e8074abb8203c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)

FRANKFURT, Sept. 13 (Bloomberg News) - The Toyota Motor Corporation said this week that all its vehicles would eventually be run by hybrid gasoline-electric motors, as record fuel prices curb demand for conventional automobiles.
"In the future, the cars you see from Toyota will be 100 percent hybrid," Kazuo Okamoto, executive vice president, told reporters in Frankfurt Monday, without giving a specific timetable.

Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker and second to General Motors worldwide, is aiming to make as many as 400,000 gasoline-electric vehicles in 2006, including Prius cars, Camry sedans, Highlander sport utility vehicles and Coaster buses, Katsuaki Watanabe, president of Toyota, said at an investor conference in New York Monday. That would be 60 percent more than 2005's objective, he added.

Toyota has sold 425,000 gasoline-electric cars since 1997 and is trying to profit from its lead over General Motors and Ford Motor. Mr. Watanabe said he aimed to cut production costs and halve the $5,000 price premium on such vehicles, without giving details.

"Toyota has been the leader of the pack in environmental technology, and they will probably continue to be," said Norihito Kanai, an analyst at Meiji Dresdner Asset Management in Tokyo. "Many of its rivals were at first not so aggressive in hybrids, but now we see everyone joining."

Hybrid vehicles combine a gasoline engine with a battery pack that is recharged through braking. Electricity powers the vehicle at low speeds, enabling the Prius to go up to 55 miles on a gallon of gasoline, double the mileage of an automobile that runs on a conventional engine.

A Prius hybrid carries a sticker price of $20,875 in California. The cost of those components makes hybrids $3,000 to $5,000 more expensive than gasoline-engine autos, according to automakers and analysts.

Mr. Watanabe told investors he could not give a time frame for halving the price premium. Nihon Keizai reported on its Web site Tuesday that he gave a target of 2010.

Fujio Cho, Mr. Watanabe's predecessor, previously set a goal of selling 300,000 hybrids annually worldwide by the end of 2005, and last year he pushed back the date to 2006. Jim Press, Toyota's United States sales chief, said a shortage of batteries and other parts would probably hold back production. The company is planning to sell 240,000 to 250,000 hybrids this year and a million a year by 2010.

"We believe that in 10 years the world will be filled with hybrids," Mr. Okamoto said.