Toyota chairman says hybrids will soon have 20% global share

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Toyota chairman says will soon have 20% share

Automotive News

10, 2014 — 12:15 am ET

The of the original Toyota Prius has expectations for the segment he helped “I foresee hybrid pretty soon reaching 20 of global sales from 13 percent to 14 percent now,” Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada Automotive News Europe .

number was unfathomable to Uchiyamada in when he was put in charge of a small Motor Corp. group Project G21, which was with creating a 21st car.

“My team proposed to top that we design a vehicle would achieve one and a half better fuel consumption anything that existed Uchiyamada said. Toyota’s top wasn’t satisfied and told the G21 team: “Double it. You are not being enough,” the 67-year-old executive during a recent visit to Italy. Twenty-one years and than 6 million Toyota and hybrids later, Uchiyamada he and his team achieved their

Europe challenge

While are key players in the U.S. and Japanese they remain niche in Europe. Combined sales of diesel-electric and plug-in hybrids in rose more than 40 last year to 214,237 according to JATO Dynamics, but resulted in an overall market of less than 2 percent. To put it way, Toyota’s 2013 sales for the Prius (234,228) the overall volume in Europe year. The reason is that diesel powertrains offered in can match or beat the fuel of a hybrid at a lower starting

Despite the struggles in Europe, is so bullish on hybrids that he his sales prediction excludes the hybrid, which is a technology Volkswagen Group, which second to Toyota in global last year, is betting on During an interview with News Europe sister Automobilwoche last year, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said of all the alternative powertrains being for today’s cars “the hybrid has the greatest potential.” VW plans a number of models the powertrain, including the Audi A3 that debuts this

The Toyota chairman, who started at the in 1969, declined to give a forecast for plug-in hybrids, that Toyota is “closely what our competitors are doing.”

One that Uchiyamada sees back plug-in hybrids is cost because of the initial low “Suppliers need higher to slash costs of components to plug-in models, including that should be bigger and capable than the ones in traditional hybrids,” he said. Toyota and Lexus sell 25 Only one is a plug-in model.

Sleepless nights

When today, the development of the Prius like a smoothly executed that is ready to be chronicled as a story in business management but the car’s birth was challenging, said. Toyota unveiled a model that had an early of its gasoline-hybrid powertrain at the 1995 auto show. Uchiyamada’s was encouraged by the positive reception to their research project. At the time, he was nervous because in the show meant that the existing complete prototype of the was out of the lab for almost three weeks.

Once the concept model was Uchiyamada wanted to get the car running. followed was a true nightmare. 49 days in November through the car did not move at all. I could not very well during period. Finally, near the end of the we got the car to run — but only for 500 meters!” he Uchiyamada and his team solved problem and today Toyota is on its generation of the Prius. The car’s makes Uchiyamada wonder people should still to him as the father of the Prius: “Maybe I am the by now.”

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