From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published September 20, 2010 11:08 AM

Toyota to Launch Host of New Hybrid Vehicles

The Prius has been the top selling hybrid automobile of all time. Toyota is taking the success of the Prius and expanding their clout in the green vehicles market. By the end of 2012, the Japan-based automaker is set to introduce six new hybrid models, two of which will be in the Lexus luxury brand, and four as Toyota models.

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The four Toyota models include the Rav4 Hybrid, Sienna Hybrid, Yaris Hybrid, and Corolla Hybrid. The new hybrid Lexus vehicles are harder to predict because there are already four Lexus hybrids on the market.

The host of vehicles will run on both gasoline and electricity. They will be new, not next-generation versions of existing models. The company is jockeying for top position in the ever-more competitive green vehicle market. One of their challengers is Nissan which is introducing the all-electric Leaf to the marketplace later this year. Nissan is promoting the Leaf as the world's first mass-produced zero-emissions electric vehicles. Also in the hunt is GM with the all-electric Chevrolet Volt, which is set for release later this year as well. Other green vehicle competitors include Mitsubishi's i-MiEV, the Subaru Plug-in Stella, and the Ford electric Focus.

Toyota is still pumping out hybrid vehicles, as opposed to PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric) or fully electric vehicles. Their success and technical expertise with this particular technology creates a competitive advantage for them in the market place. However, they will be attempting their first foray into the all-electric market with the Rav4.

The Rav4 is a compact sport utility vehicle that may be considered a crossover. This would actually be the second generation electric Rav4. The first was actually in 1997, when a small number were built specifically for fleet lease purposes. Then in 2002, the vehicle was made available to the public, but only 328 of them sold. The second generation Rav4 has been designed and built in partnership with California-based Tesla Motors, which has a long history of developing electric vehicles. The electric version will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November.

Toyota is hoping that their new generation of hybrids will put the spotlight back on their environmentally friendly cars, and off of their recent problems. The company desperately wants to overcome the drop in sales that followed a series of recalls earlier this year related to safety problems. These problems included unintended acceleration, engine, steering, and brake problems. About ten million total vehicles were affected.

For more information on Toyota's Hybrid Vehicles: http://www.toyota.com/sem/hybrids.html

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