With petrol engines accounting for 95% of sales, no emissions-based road tax system, fuel costing 50p per litre and a road network clogged by high-polluting elderly Ladas and Volgas, the environment wasn't the number one agenda item at the 12th Moscow motor show.
 
However that didn't stop both Honda and Toyota promoting their hybrid ambitions.

Toyota launched the world's first mass produced hybrid a decade ago and the Prius continues to be its best selling vehicle of its type, now sold in 40 countries across the world .

With the demand for premium brands showing no signs of slowing, Lexus hybrids are also becoming big business. The firm's RX400h SUV and LS600h luxury limousine are notching up healthy sales figures.

And a hybrid powertrain was the key message being promoted with its unnamed concept hatchback. Tipped to hint at design elements from the third-generation Prius (recently scoop-photgraphed on test by consumer media), the striking five-door show car introduced the Russian audience to the benefits of this innovative technology.

Hybrid power could also be found under the bonnet of the Honda CR-Z. Taking its inspiration from previous CR-X models, a production version of the two-door sports coupe is expected to go on sale across most European markets by 2010.

This follows Honda's global hybrid which, say company insiders, will make this innovative technology accessible to a new audience thanks to its aggressive pricing.

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