Toyota’s new higher levels of hybrid production will include hybrid minivans and subcompacts.
It took 10 years for Toyota to sell its first 1 million hybrids globally. It reached that milestone in June 2007, one decade after it began selling the first-generation Toyota Prius in Japan. The company now says it will achieve its long-standing goal of 1 million annual global hybrid sales by 2011.
The Nikkei reported today that Toyota plans to double its global production of hybrids vehicles from the 2009 level by next year. According to the Japanese newspaper, the automaker recently notified parts suppliers that it intends to roll out about 800,000 hybrids domestically in 2010, rising to 900,000 in 2011 and roughly 1.1 million in 2012. When domestic production combines with Toyota hybrids assembled at four overseas sites, the volume will exceed 1 million in 2011.
Speaking last week in Detroit, Toyota president and CEO Yoshi Inaba said Toyota is reviving plans to produce the Prius hybrid at its idle factory in Blue Springs, Miss. Inaba did not specify the timing, only saying that it will happen “when the [economic] recovery hits full stride.” Toyota expects US car sales to rise 10 percent this year to about 11.4 million vehicles. Toyota currently makes the Camry Hybrid in the United States, at its Georgetown, Ky. plant.
Honda, the second largest global hybrid producer, made less than 150,000 hybrids in 2009.
Toyota currently sells more than 10 hybrids, including dedicated models such as the Prius and Lexus HS 250h—as well as the Toyota Sai, a sister model to the HS 250h only sold in Japan. Toyota plans to boost production of these existing vehicles in addition to launching new hybrid minivans, subcompacts and luxury cars, according to the report.
Toyota unveiled the FT-CH concept hybrid last week at the Detroit auto show. It’s one of about 10 new hybrid models expected from Toyota in the next few years. The FT-CH hybrid, which could become the company’s most affordable and highest mpg car so far, will carry the Prius name. No details are available yet on the Toyota hybrid minivan.