On the eve of the 2016 Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, Toyota announced that it will launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin—two mass-market models, both of which have conventional hybrid variants—in China during 2018.
In 2005, based on long-term plans to encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly vehicles in the country, Toyota selected China as the first location for production of its hybrid flagship, the Prius, outside of Japan.
|Levin Hybrid (left) and Corolla Hybrid (right) introduced at the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in 2015. Click to enlarge.|
Later, the establishment of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. in 2010 created a hub for localized research and development of hybrid technologies. Following this major commitment, Toyota established two local manufacturers of hybrid powertrain components, Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd. and Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co., Ltd., in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
These efforts culminated in last year’s launch of the Corolla Hybrid and Levin Hybrid—both of which feature locally developed hybrid units—at the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. The debut of these models marked the first time Toyota researched, developed and produced hybrid powertrain components—in this case, the battery, inverter and transaxle—outside Japan.
Cumulative total orders for both vehicles now stand at approximately 40,000 units.
To continue promoting the widespread use of alternative energy vehicles in the future, Toyota is also proceeding with localization of plug-in hybrid vehicle development ahead of the launch of plug-in versions of these two models in 2018.
Global sales of the Toyota Prius PHV began in January 2012, and by the end of March 2016, a cumulative total of 75,000 units had been sold in Japan, the US, and Europe, with the latest generation Prius PHV set to go on sale in these markets from this fall. With plug-in hybrids representing the new benchmark for environmentally-friendly vehicles in China, the mass-market Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid models will be launched in 2018.
New turbo engine. Toyota also announced the introduction of a 1.2-liter direct-injection turbo engine with class-leading thermal efficiency in vehicles that are slated to go on sale in China later this year. The engine, first announced in April 2015, delivers superb driving performance and acceleration, while also achieving impressive fuel efficiency and world-leading thermal efficiency. At present, it is available in models sold in Europe and Japan.
Advanced safety technology. Following introduction in Europe, Japan and the US, the Toyota Safety Sense active safety package will be made available in vehicles sold in China later this year. In line with the gradual deployment of Toyota Safety Sense packages with specifications that match the local market environments, the system has been specifically adapted for Chinese roads.