GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN — Toyota President Fujio Cho told an audience in Gothenburg, Sweden, that he believed Toyota will be producing over a million hybrid vehicles a year five years from now, reports Speaking at the European Car of the Year presentation ceremony last week, Cho said, “I can’t be concrete but it should be one million units within five years. With the right cars we can do much more.” In ‘05-‘06 Toyota will make 300,000 hybrids, including 180,000 units of Prius. The balance will be the Lexus RX 400h, plus Japanese-market minivans and mild hybrids. Cho said “Eventually each model range will have a hybrid version,” and when asked what Toyota spends on hybrid R&D, he said, “I cannot single out hybrids per se. But we spend 700 billion yen per year on technology and R&D. About half of that is related to the environment, by which I mean fuel cells, hybrids, weight reduction, and so on. We attach great importance to this and will continue to spend at that level or increase it. We want to maintain leadership.” On the sticker price of hybrids Cho said: “It costs more than an average car because of the battery, motor, inverter, and so on. But with improved design and manufacturing methods, and increased volume, we have reduced costs significantly. We’re striving to do more. I can’t say when a hybrid will reach parity with a conventional vehicle but it’s our objective, I promise.” Earlier in the week, another Toyota executive, Tadashin Arashima of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe predicted that sales of the company’s hybrids are targeted at between 15,000 and 20,000 in 2005, according to Reuters.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials