Toyota today launched three versions of its luxury Crown Royal Saloon equipped
with the world’s first mild hybrid system using a compact belt-driven motor for
low emissions, Kyodo News reported.

The system, called Toyota Hybrid System-Mild, enables the reduction of emissions
of harmful substances such as hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide from three litre
models, at least 50% lower than the 2000 standard, Kyodo said, citing Toyota
officials.

The new Crowns are also the first Toyotas to feature the company’s newly
developed Hill Start Aid system (HSA).

On an incline, vehicles with automatic transmissions tend to reverse on a hill
when the brake pedal is released with the car in the idle stop mode – where
the engine is automatically stopped and restarted to reduce emissions. The new
HAS system automatically applies the brakes and allows the driver to move off
easily after stopping on an incline.

The new Crowns are part of Toyota’s plans to strengthen their sedan range.
While sales of minivans and small cars have been expanding, new sedans introduced
in 2001, including the Brevis and Verossa, have also sold well and Toyota will
follow this up with full model changes for the Japanese market Windom (Lexus
ES300), Camry and Carina between now and the end of the year.

Toyota currently has more than a 60% share of the Japanese luxury sedan market.
The company plans to introduce flexible new production lines that can produce
both minivans and sedans in order to cut costs.