Toyota was the first to create a
mass-production hybrid, when it launched the Prius in 1997.
Since then it has seen strong demand for that vehicle as it has
evolved over three generations. Meanwhile, Toyota has fleshed
out its hybrid offerings with Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Lexus
GS 450h, Lexus RX 450h, and LS 600h hybrids. More hybrids from
Toyota and Lexus are also in the works.
Later this year Toyota
will launch the Lexus
HS 250h, a new luxury hybrid vehicle. The vehicle will join
13 hybrid vehicles currently in the company's lineup (though many of
these are Japan-only models). Toyota continues to advance on
its plan to by 2020 launch a hybrid version of every vehicle in its
lineup, as well as continuing to offer hybrid-only offerings like the
On May 31, 2007 Toyota topped one million hybrids
sold. Toyota estimates that since 1997 its hybrids have reduced
CO2 emissions by 11 million tons (based on a comparison of fuel
economy of sedans of similar size and class).
In the next
decade, Toyota hopes to be selling 1 million hybrid vehicles a
Toyota does face growing competition in the market.
Rival Japanese automaker Nissan will be launching an pure electric
vehicle, the Leaf EV in 2011. Both Nissan and Honda are also
expanding their hybrid lineups, with Honda's Insight posting modest
sales, despite lukewarm reviews. German automakers are also
pushing ahead with clean
diesel and hybrid offerings and the U.S. automakers all have
growing hybrid lineups, as well plans for electric vehicles.
quote: Plus the cognitive dissonance of working in a right-wing-type defense engineering job while driving what is usually considered a tree-hugging ecofreak vehicle is always good for a laugh.