Toyota's entire model range will soon be using hybrid technology but it still prefers to position the Prius above bread-and-butter vehicles in its model lineup. It is believed that the Prius badge is meant for early adopters who are willing to pay its slightly bloated price.
In 2010, Toyota is expected to build one million hybrid drivetrains to be used in its Prius and Auris HSD models, but by 2020, it plans to have a hybrid in every range.
However, Toyota is not inclined to create a new system for future hybrids because its 1.8-litre petrol engine/electric motor/nickel-metal hydride batteries system has proven to be reliable and less costly.
Toyota's powertrain engineer, Gerald Killman, has previously confirmed plans to launch more hybrids. He also said that its current hybrid system could be used for sporty driving.
"Adaptable" is how Killman describes Toyota's hybrid technology. He said that its hybrid system is more flexible and Toyota is hesitant to develop a new one when it can still give its current unit "more character."
To jumpstart its attempt to add more fun to its models, Toyota has unveiled the GNRM Sports Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January. Toyota is prepared to soon release Japanese hybrid sports cars with a successor to the MR2 and a refreshed Supra.
Both are expected to arrive within the next four years. The MR2 replacement, which is set to arrive in lat 2013, will feature a hybrid powertrain based on a 1.5-liter petrol engine.