The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to begin assembling plug-in hybrids in China by 2012. The joint venture with China FAW Group Corp. will make the hybrids, with output likely starting at a few thousand units a year.
The joint venture already has a track record for producing the Prius, the Japanese carmaker’s mainstay hybrid. Toyota intends to position the joint venture as the Chinese supply base for plug-ins, which are touted as the next big thing in environmentally friendly vehicles.
Ahead of starting Chinese production and sales, Toyota will test the vehicles in Tianjin. It will study their performance based on road conditions and use the data it collects on fuel efficiency, recharging speed and other factors for local manufacturing.