Toyota Bets the Farm on Hybrids Date Posted 01-21-2005 Summary: Toyota president Fujio Cho says Toyota will be producing over 1 million hybrid vehicles per year within five years. Eventually, every Toyota range will have a hybrid version. Full story: Toyota is planning to press home its advantage in hybrid cars and ramp up production to 1 million units a year within five years, according to president Fujio Cho. Accepting the European Car of the Year award for the Toyota Prius hybrid at a ceremony in Gothenburg, Denmark, Cho said, "I can't be concrete but it should be 1 million units within five years. With the right cars we can do much more." In the next 12 months, Toyota will build 300,000 hybrids, including 180,000 Prius models. A hybrid version of the Lexus RX will go on sale this year, with electric motors driving all four wheels. Toyota will also build Japanese-market hybrid minivans. "Eventually each model range will have a hybrid version," said Cho. Cho said Toyota was striving to bring the price of hybrids down through economies of scale. "It costs more than an average car because of the battery, motor, inverter and so on. But with improved design and manufacturing methods, and increased volume, we have reduced costs significantly. I can't say when a hybrid will reach parity with a conventional vehicle but it's our objective." What this means to you: While many automakers have dillydallied over electric cars, fuel cells and other alternative power plants, Toyota has pushed hybrids aggressively, and has seized a strong position in the "green" market. Now it's planning to bring the price down, which can only be good news.