Oct. 18, 2006: International Herald Tribune

Summary: Every couple of months, Thomas Weber, head of research for DaimlerChrysler, gets behind the wheel of one of his own cars, or that of one of his competitors, and drives through the mountainous terrain of Europe or on long stretches in the United States.

While taking a spin this year, the lifelong Mercedes man found himself impressed with a novelty on the European market: Toyota Motor’s new Lexus GS 450H, the world’s first luxury car that incorporates an electric hybrid motor but still performs for a demanding driver like Weber.

The car has been a public relations bang for Toyota, and highlights how Germany’s luxury automakers lag behind the Japanese.

But now, Daimler is betting it can catch up quickly.

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