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Report: Toyota planning to launch new hybrid automobile in 2009

From Nikkei News| June 25,2007

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. plans to begin selling a second dedicated brand of hybrid automobiles in 2009, following up on its market-dominating Prius hybrid, a news report said Sunday.

Japan's No. 1 auto maker plans to sell around 100,000 of the as-yet-unnamed hybrid annually around the world at the outset, Japan's business daily The Nikkei said in an unsourced story.

A hybrid switches between a gas engine and electric motor to deliver better mileage and reduce greenhouse emissions.

The auto would be Toyota's second hybrid-only brand following the Prius, the paper said. Toyota offers several other hybrid models, including the hybrid Camry and hybrid Lexus models.

The new vehicle is expected to play a driving role in Toyota's plans to increase hybrid sales to one million vehicles a year after 2010 in response to efforts to tighten emissions regulations in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, the Nikkei said.

Phones rang unanswered at Toyota Sunday.

Earlier this month, Toyota said it had sold more than one million hybrid vehicles around the world since the Prius' introduction in 1997. The Prius accounted for nearly three-quarters of those sales.

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