According to a media report published in the Nikkei business daily, sources point that the Japanese company intends to introduce new hybrid versions of its large sport utility vehicles from 2016 to prepare for upcoming tougher environmental regulations.
The business daily also reported that Toyota mulls the release of a hybrid version of the Land Cruiser SUV to extend the line-up and also introduce such versions of its international multipurpose vehicles, such as the Fortuner, designed for emerging markets. In the mean time, the automaker wants to further develop hybrid systems capable of powering such large models.
Toyota, which officially released its first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997, now offers about 20 hybrid models in its lineup, though they are mostly passenger cars. The company has been successful in the segment, selling more than 5 million hybrid cars globally until now, the newspaper said.
Improving mileage has become a key issue for automakers as the United States and other countries, like the European Union, plan to tighten even further today’s environmental rules. Usually, Toyota’s hybrid cars such as the Crown are 20-30 % more fuel-efficient than non-hybrid gasoline models .