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Toyota Considering Making Diesel-Electric Hybrids

January 11, 2005

TORRANCE, CA — Toyota reportedly will offer a diesel-electric hybrid power plant as an option in its next-generation Tacoma or Tundra, according to Earthship Biotecture.In addition, there are the possibilities of diesel-electric or natural gas hybrid versions of its 4Runner and Sequoia, GX 470, and the upcoming Lexus LX 470 replacement. Although Toyota increased sales in Europe by 14 percent in the first six months of this year, creating diesel-hybrids would strengthen its hold on European markets where diesel-powered vehicles make up about 40 percent of new automobile sales and fuel prices are much higher than in North America.The Japanese automaker currently builds in the neighborhood of 10 different diesel engines available in different markets around the world. The European-spec Yaris, which was recently introduced in Canada as the Echo Hatchback and is available in the U.S. and Canada with a trunk as the Echo, features a diesel variant, as do the Corolla, RAV4, Land Cruiser, and others. Rising gasoline costs may make diesel-hybrids more cost efficient than gasoline-electric hybrids.
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