GM, Toyota to Make Vehicles That Use Hybrid Energy
class=ar>General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. are gearing up to produce hybrid gasoline-and-electric versions of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, giving fuel-saving hybrid technologies a big push toward the mainstream market, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported.
At the annual Detroit auto show next month, Toyota and GM will announce plans to introduce hybrid versions of several of their bigger vehicles. GM, the world's biggest auto maker, intends to roll out hybrid systems as optional equipment across much of its lineup between 2004 and the end of the decade, according to an official familiar with the plans. Toyota will disclose plans to launch hybrid versions of its Lexus RX330 luxury SUV and its Toyota Highlander SUV before the middle of the decade.
GM aims to use an array of technologies to offer hybrid systems as an option on an increasing number of its vehicles. One of them is the relatively simple hybrid system in store for its pickups. The company's goal is to be ready to build as many hybrids as U.S. consumers will buy, but not to be saddled with so many that it has to sell them at a loss, according to a person familiar with GM's plans.
The hybrid versions of Toyota's SUVs will derive from Toyota's hybrid Estima minivan. The Estima was launched in Japan in 2001 and isn't sold in the U.S. Toyota President Fujio Cho said earlier this year the car maker hopes by mid- decade to sell 300,000 hybrids a year around the world, most of them in the U.S.
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