TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- One-quarter of Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. sales by the end of the decade will be hybrids, Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said here last week.
Toyota has 10 hybrid vehicles under development for global markets in addition to the versions it already sells, Press said. All 10 will be on sale by the end of the decade, he said.
Hybrids could account for "10, 12 or 15 percent" of industrywide sales by the end of the decade, he said. Press said he could not be specific about the percentage because he doesn't know what other automakers have planned.
In any case, "The demand will be there," Press said.
Hybrids use a gasoline engine plus one or more electric motors to power the wheels. Toyota Motor sells three hybrids in the United States: the Toyota Prius and Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h. Together, they account for 6.7 percent of Toyota, Lexus and Scion sales.
The company will launch hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry and Lexus GS in the 2007 model year.
Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe has set a goal of 1 million global hybrid sales a year by early in the next decade.
"At our current rate of sales, that's about 600,000 hybrids in the U.S.," Press said.
"To achieve that goal, we will have to look at offering hybrid power systems in virtually all of our vehicles, including trucks," he said.
Toyota is studying development of hybrid-powered pickups, Press said.
Toyota engineers in Japan have said that development of hybrid pickups is lagging development of other hybrid vehicles.
Press also said that future hybrid owners may be able to choose between maximum fuel economy and higher performance from a hybrid powertrain by pushing a button on the instrument panel.
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