Toyota chairman confident in hybrid prowess image

Despite the fact that the industry as a whole is putting more resources into electric vehicle development, Toyota’s chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada said automakers should augment their efforts on hybrids.

Talking about the longer term, the company is betting heavily on the advent of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with the automaker planning to offer a mid size Camry-type fuel-cell sedan from 2015. Uchiyamada, 67, for now, though, called all others to reach together at least  5 million hybrids, to be sold in the US by the end of 2016.

“Some people say hybrid vehicles such as the Prius are only a bridge to the future,” Uchiyamada told the Economic Club of Washington on Monday morning. “But we think it could be a long bridge and a very sturdy one. There are many more gains we can achieve with hybrids.”

“It’s only when we put ourselves under the same kind of intense pressure we faced in developing the Prius that we can achieve great goals,” Uchiyamada said in his first U.S. speech as chairman. “I wish to call on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the U.S. by the end of 2016.”

Uchiyamada, known within the company as the father of the Prius hybrid, became chairman of the carmaker in June, with the company already at full swing developing the fourth generation of the Prius.

As we all know, Toyota offers more types of hybrids than any other carmaker, a dominance that prompted other automakers to become reluctant at the idea of building hybrids, rather focusing on  electric vehicles, diesels, plug-in electric hybrids or other advanced vehicles.