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Toyota to launch five new hybrid lines by early 2021

Broadside: Toyota’s new Corolla hatch now has hybrid variants across the range, and the sedan version due next year is expected to follow suit.

Hybrid model onslaught over next 30 months for Toyota as local CO2 regulations loom

13 Aug 2018

TOYOTA Australia has vowed to continue its so-called “hybrid model offensive” with the launch of petrol-electric variants in five all-new passenger car and SUV lines over the next 30 months.
Hybrids currently make up five per cent of Toyota Australia’s total sales – translating to around 10,000 units for the market leader last year – but are expected to climb significantly higher as the company brings more alternative-drive variants of its mainstream models to market.
Only the new-generation RAV4 coming next year is confirmed as one of the five, but GoAuto believes the remaining quartet – all of which will be here by early 2021 – will include the Corolla sedan, C-HR small SUV, the next-generation Yaris light hatch and a new-generation Kluger large SUV.
These will add to the current hybrid crew comprising the low-volume Prius, Prius C and Prius V trio, the newly imported Camry – which currently has hybrid accounting for 41 per cent of sales – and the just-launched 12th-generation Corolla hatchback.
The new Corolla offers hybrid at every grade for a $1500 premium above the equivalent conventional-engine variant, with Toyota Australia forecasting that the green-tinged versions will account for 20 per cent of volume – or around 7500 sales. 
Announcing the latest model offensive at the launch of the new Corolla in Queensland last week, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the company’s focus had “very much turned to the changes facing our industry” – particularly looming emissions regulations and compulsory CO2 targets – in the wake of its exit from local manufacturing last year.


Toyota CH-R

With no mass-manufacturing car industry to support, the federal government is now preparing to introduce long-awaited compulsory emissions regulations that are expected to hit Toyota hard with its broad line-up that includes off-road wagons and light-commercial vehicle model lines. 
While on the one hand calling for LCVs (such as HiLux) and off-road passenger SUVs (such as LandCruiser) to be placed in a separate, less stringent category for CO2 targets, Mr Hanley said Toyota’s hybrid rollout across various passenger car lines proved the company “is not waiting for emissions laws to be enacted”.
“We recognise that all car-makers must reduce emissions and the overall environmental impact of their vehicles,” he said. 
“This is clearly an area where the mass-market adoption of hybrid technology is vital to achieve the desired outcomes, and no one knows hybrid better than Toyota. We have a responsibility as the industry leader to take a stand, and we’re doing that with a hybrid model offensive.
“We’ve already announced RAV4 hybrid from next year and, whilst we never comment on future model plans, you can be sure we’ll accelerate both the availability and marketing of this core technology for the 21st century.
“Our expanded hybrid vehicle offering will be suited to the specific segments in which each vehicle competes, while reducing their overall environmental impact. 
“They include vehicles that are more performance orientated.”
Mr Hanley said Toyota sold more than 1.5 million hybrids worldwide in 2017, three years ahead of the original target set for 2020, and that cumulative sales have exceeded 11.5 million, which represents a reduction of more than 90 million tonnes of CO2 compared to equivalent combustion-engine vehicles.
“That’s a solid and sustainable foundation for mass producing a more diverse portfolio of electrified vehicles across our range,” he said, adding that the Japanese auto giant was well on its way to achieving its global aim of reducing vehicle emissions by more than 90 per cent by 2050.
As reported, Toyota Motor Corporation is working on delivering annual electrified vehicle sales of 5.5 million units by 2030, and from around 2025 the company aims to have an electrified version available for all vehicle models across its global line-up. 
Mr Hanley said Australia should harmonise its emissions standards with leading overseas markets, pointing to the United States and Canada which distinguish between passenger cars and LCVs/off-road SUVs. 
He also said this would require fuel standards to improve in Australia to enable the latest engine technologies to be made available here. 
“Put simply, we can’t achieve first-world emissions without first-world-quality fuel,” he said. 
Mr Hanley told GoAuto that company was waiting for the CO2 regulations before setting firm targets on the percentage of hybrid sales within its overall volume. 
“We don’t know that number. We are ‘scenario planning’ like I guess most manufacturers would be – you need to be,” he said.
“We’re not waiting, but it’s very difficult to give you a number at this point until we understand exactly what that legislation is.”

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