Toyota and Lexus to Debut Six New Hybrids and EV by 2012

With the recent unveiling of a production-ready Fit / Jazz hybrid by Honda, fellow Japanese automaker Toyota is readying for a big hybrid fight. Undaunted by the recent drop in hybrid sales, Toyota plans to launch six new hybrid models by end of 2012, one of which will be a Vitz / Yaris hybrid.

In a presentation in Detroit on Monday, Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada explained that two of the six new hybrids will be for Lexus and four for Toyota adding that all of them will be new and not next-generation versions of existing hybrid models.

Some will be hybrid only models (i.e. there will be no gasoline-only variant), though Uchiyamada would not elaborate further as to what body type or segment these new vehicles would be.

The carmaker is also readying an electric vehicle co-developed with Tesla (makers of the all electric Roadster) and possible rival to Nissan's Leaf EV. Uchiyamada has confirmed that this will be shown at the 2010 Los Angeles Motor Show. The new Toyota EV could possibly be the same all-electric small car the automaker had previous stated they were working on.

This comes after a string of recalls (11 million vehicles globally) hurt the brand's image of reliability, something Uchiyamada plants to fix by extending is vehicle development time setting up a team of 100 engineers to audit its production lines.

By Tristan Hankins

Source: WSJ (sub. req)