TOKYO, Japan --- Toyota Motor Corp. plans to start manufacturing hybrid cars in Australia as early as 2010, according to a report from Reuters. The automaker hopes to reach its global annual sales goal of 1 million hybrid vehicles soon after 2010.

Toyota's goal is to assemble a few thousand Camry hybrids a year at the 150,000 unit-a-year Altona factory in Victoria. This is the plant where Toyota already builds the Camry sedan and the Aurion sister model. The Camry hybrids will be sold locally.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is scheduled to hold a news conference on Tuesday with Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe. His government has allocated A$500 million towards the Green Car Innovation Fund to spur development of low-emissions vehicles.

Toyota now builds most of its hybrid vehicles in Japan. In 2006, the automaker began assembling the Prius hybrid in China, and more recently the Camry hybrid at its Kentucky plant in the U.S., with imported hybrid system modules, Reuters reported.

In light of sky-high fuel prices, automakers are scrambling to offer more fuel-efficient alternatives such as pure electric cars and ethanol-fueled cars.

Toyota will need to more than double production of hybrid vehicles in order to meet its 1 million hybrid annual sales target in the early part of the next decade, Reuters reported.

 

 

Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine

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