Toyota Hybrid Push Forces Others to Play Catch-Up

Company has sold 150,000 hybrid-electric vehicles since 1997

Published: 28-Aug-2003

TOKYO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - You could call it one of the biggest upsets in the global car industry's century-old competition.

Toyota Motor Corp, the world's third-biggest auto maker, began learning how to build cars 66 years ago by taking apart a Chevy sedan in an empty warehouse. But now it is forcing bigger rivals to play catch-up in the race to offer greener cars.

Next week, Japan's top auto maker will unveil a production version of the second-generation gasoline-electric hybrid car "Prius", distancing itself from competitors as it promises better fuel economy and a larger, more comfortable car than its predecessor at the unchanged sticker price of $20,000.

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