Gentlemen, start your engines, Toyota’s hybrid 2012

Toyota has not been seen in high profile racing since the end of 2009, when it pulled the plug on Formula 1 racing. That year, the motor company booked a net loss of 436.9 billion yen $4.4 billion, which was its first annual net loss since 1950.Toyota must sell cars, and the most efficient marketing tool is racing. The bottom line is that racing sells cars and green technology.The Japanese giant has combined the two and announced its return to the most prestigious endurance race in the world, Le Mans 24 Hours race, with an earth friendly, hybrid race-car.

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Toyota to sell plug-in hybrid in US, Europe, Japan targeting 2012

Toyota is planning to sell a plug-in hybrid car in the U.S., Japan and Europe in 2012, targeting sales of 50,000 vehicles a year at 3 million yen ($36,000) each without subsidies, as the automaker strengthens its green lineup to keep pace with growing competition.

Toyota Motor Corp. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said Thursday that Toyota is also planning to sell an electric vehicle in 2012 and not just in the U.S. as it had said before, but in Japan and Europe too. Sales in China are also being considered, he told reporters.

But he said electric vehicles will be mainly for short commutes for some time and gasoline-electric hybrids will remain the standard for green cars because drivers won’t have to worry about running out of electricity on the road.

His comments show how Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, is banking on hybrids, which switch between a gasoline engine and an electric motor, after the success of its top-selling Prius hybrid.

A plug-in hybrid is cleaner than a regular hybrid because it travels longer as a zero-emission electric vehicle.

"Toyota is working on developing hybrid technology as the core technology of the future," Uchiyamada said at a Tokyo showroom.

He was at pains to show Toyota isn’t lagging in electric car technology, although acknowledged it had fallen behind Japanese rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in bringing them to market.

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Toyota Hybrids Sales in Japan Top 1 Million Units, Global Sales over 2.68 Million

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces that cumulative sales in Japan of its hybrid vehicles have topped the 1-million mark, while more than 2.68 million units have been sold globally as of July 31, 2010(1).

In August 1997 in Japan, TMC launched its first hybrid vehicle, the Toyota "Coaster Hybrid EV" minibus. In December of the same year, TMC launched the Toyota "Prius" – the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. The use of the Toyota hybrid system was subsequently expanded to such vehicles as minivans, SUVs and rear-wheel-drive sedans. In 2009, TMC broadened its range of hybrid vehicles further with the launch of the third-generation Prius, as well as two other dedicated hybrid vehicles, the Lexus "HS250h" and the Toyota "Sai". Currently, nine TMC-produced hybrid passenger vehicle models and three hybrid commercial vehicle models are sold in Japan.

via Sales in Japan of Toyota Hybrids Top 1 Million Units, Global Sales Pass 2.68 Million Units.

Toyota and Mazda to team-up on Hybrid Cars

A technical tie-up between Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. in the field of hybrid vehicles is likely to be of greater benefit to Mazda, which lags behind in developing eco-friendly automobiles.

Mazda could eventually try to further strengthen its ties with Toyota by using Toyota auto parts and taking other measures in the aftermath of Ford Motor Co., Mazda’s largest shareholder, reducing its ratio of Mazda’s shares.

Mazda has prioritized improving the mileage of gas-powered engine vehicles, but these measures alone are not enough to secure the company’s business prospects.

It has already raised 60 billion yen for eco-vehicle research and development through increasing its capital by offering new stocks to the public.

With the tie-up, Mazda will be able to fulfill all the requirements for developing hybrid vehicles.

However, as eco-car manufacturing has seen a sharp increase in the auto industry worldwide, the market could be dominated by other automakers by 2013, when Toyota begins fully supplying Mazda with the key components of hybrid vehicles. Late starter Mazda will therefore be forced to play catch-up.

Meanwhile, Toyota predicts that it will suffer a 350 billion yen deficit for the consolidated financial settlement for the business term ending in March 2010.

Toyota may seek to quickly boost its business profits and cut the costs of manufacturing the key components for its own hybrid vehicles by producing more of the components for Mazda.

Photo by beve4