USA: Toyota considers more hybrids - paper
Toyota Motor Corporation, already the industry leader in hybrid-electric vehicles with three in production, is poised to add three more to its US line-up for the 2005 model year and is also studying the feasibility of a V8 hybrid for its Lexus division, Automotive News reported.
Toyota sources told the trade newspaper that the company is preparing to add hybrid versions of the Highlander sport wagon and Sienna minivan to the US line-up.
The two vehicles would join the redesigned Prius sedan, to go on sale in October, and a previously announced hybrid Lexus RX 330 SUV, to be called the RX 400H when it goes on sale next spring as a 2005 model, Automotive News added.
Dave Hermance, executive engineer for environmental engineering for the Toyota Technical Centre, told Automotive News that the Camry, the best-selling car in the United States, could get a hybrid powerplant.
The RX 330, Highlander and Sienna share architecture that is based on the Camry's platform, although the sedan's packaging is different from that of the larger vehicles, the paper noted.
Toyota also is researching the feasibility of mating hybrid technology with a V8, Shinichi Matsumoto, project general manager for Toyota's electric and hybrid powertrain development group, told Automotive News.