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Toyota’s Hybrid Outlook in the US for 2006

Jim Press, the President of Toyota Motor Sales in the US, has spent part of last week speaking to different conferences organized around the Detroit auto show, including the Automotive Analysts of New York Conference and the Automotive News World Congress, about Toyota’s outlook for the coming year.

Toyota expects its total US sales to climb 5%–10%this year from the 2.26 million units sold in 2005. In hybrids, it expects to see approximately a 50% growth in sales to around 225,000 units—with a hefty portion of that increase likely going to the new Camry Hybrid.

Due to production capacity limitations on batteries, Prius units available for the US will be about the same as this year—more than 100,000 units, but likely not much more. Toyota sold out its entire US allocation of 108,270 Prius hybrids this year, and a two-to four-month backlog still remains.

Toyota sold almost 147,000 of its three hybrid models in 2005. It will have two more models on the market by the summer.

After the Katrina incident, one-third of consumers in America said they would consider a hybrid...a big jump from about 5% before that, and we haven’t seen those numbers come down substantially...

[We] now will have 5 models of hybrids on sale this summer, with more to come.

This [the hybrid] is the powertrain of the future. Eventually, in every one of your lifetimes, virtually every car will be a hybrid.

—Jim Press

At the Automotive News conference, Press told the audience that Toyota has no plans to produce diesel-powered vehicles in North America, even though it sees significant potential for the powerplants.

Full-size trucks, however, are a key segment for Toyota, Press told the Analysts conference, in addition to the luxury, youth and, of course, hybrid markets.

The full-size truck market will continue to’s a big segment to start with. The SUV market may not. SUVs are more image-driven, trucks are more need-driven.

Toyota will be staging the world premiere of the all-new 2007 Tundra full-size pickup truck at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show in February.


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