Toyota to launch 18 new hybrid models by 2015

The company currently sells only one hybrid model in India -- Prius.

New Delhi: Japanese auto giant Toyota will consider introducing new hybrid vehicles in India in future encouraged by gradual increase in sales of its only such model 'Prius' in the country.

As part of a global initiative to develop fuel-efficient and environment-friendly vehicles, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will launch 18 new hybrid models by 2015.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with Kirloskar Group, may also consider assembly of hybrid cars if demand for such vehicles increases in future.

"We have already introduced the Prius to Indian market and we will continue to study the Indian market to introduce new hybrid models in India at appropriate times," a TMC spokesperson told PTI from Tokyo.

The company is planning to introduce 18 new hybrid models by 2015, of which 13 are new vehicles and five will be model changes, the official said.

When asked if the company will start assembly of hybrid models at any of its two Indian plants, the spokesperson said: "Depending on the future market dynamics, we will study and take a decision accordingly."

The official, however, declined to comment on any possible timeframe to start CKD (completely knocked down) operations of hybrid vehicles in India saying "it is related to future production plans".

The company currently sells only one hybrid model in India -- Prius -- as a fully-imported vehicle. The sales of the model increased over 70 per cent to 12 units in 2012-13 from 7 units in the previous financial year.

Due to very high overall import duty, Prius is at present available between Rs 29.26 lakh and Rs 31.43 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

TMC today announced that it has reached the milestone of crossing 50 lakh units in sales of hybrid vehicles globally as on March 31 this year.

The company had launched its first hybrid vehicle in 1997 and has so far sold a total of of 51.25 lakh units across the world. Currently, the company sells 19 hybrid passenger vehicles, comprising 13 Toyota and 6 Lexus brands, and 1 plug- in hybrid model in about 80 countries.

Talking about its global plan for hybrid vehicles, spokesperson said: "We plan to introduce 18 new hybrid models by the end of 2015. We expect global sales of these additional hybrid vehicles to be at least one million (10 lakh) units a year from 2013 to 2015."

In 2012, TMC had sold a total of 87 lakh units, out of which 12 lakh units were hybrid vehicles.

"We plan to sell approximately 1.25 million (12.5 lakh) hybrid vehicles globally in 2013, 3 per cent more from the previous year.

"In 2012, hybrid vehicles have accounted for 14 per cent of Toyota's global vehicle sales," the spokesperson said, adding that during January-February this year, hybrid models have accounted for 15 per cent of TMC's global vehicle sales.

Asked about the investment that TMC will make to develop the 18 new hybrid models, the official declined to comment.

"We have continued to make efficient investments. However, we will focus our strategic investments over the medium to long term on hybrid vehicles and environmentally friendly technologies to protect the seeds of future growth," the spokesperson added.