The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor will roll out more hybrid vehicles in Japan, wanting them to account for one in two cars sold domestically by next year. The report suggests that the automaker is trying to keep pace with criteria for tax breaks for buyers of fuel-efficient, low-emission cars. More than 80% of cars sold in Japan now qualify for tax savings under the eco-car program, but only about half of new cars are expected to qualify after the implementation of stricter standards next month.
Toyota sold 684,000 hybrids in Japan last year, and expects to sell 760,000 in 2016 under smaller overall volume, according to the report. At this level, hybrids would account for roughly half of Toyota's domestic sales, up from 44% last year.
Japanese production of hybrids would grow by about 30% compared with 2014 output to 1.32 million, the plans show. This would make more than 40% of Toyotas built in Japan hybrids.
Partly due to Toyota, hybrids are likely to account for 40% of cars sold in Japan, excluding commercial vehicles and minicars, according to the report. The ratio in North America remains in the single digits. In Europe, where diesels account for roughly half of sales, hybrids have made even less of a dent in the market. Selling more hybrids in Japan could boost Toyota's cost competitiveness, helping it export them in greater numbers, the Nikkei suggests.