Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has launched the world's most fuel-efficient gasoline-electric compact hybrid car in Japan, as the company gears itself to competition from pure electric vehicles.
The compact car, labelled 'Aqua' in Japan and the 'Prius C' overseas, has a listed fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/litre, ahead of the current top Prius, which gets 32 km/litre.
The Aqua incorporates 17 years of Toyota expertise and technology in the development of mass-produced hybrid vehicles, and boasts a small, light and efficient hybrid system.
Toyota is aiming for monthly Aqua sales in Japan of 12,000 units, with a starting price of 1.69 million yen having its assembly plant located at Iwate Plant, Kanto Auto Works, Ltd.
TMC dominates the hybrid field and has plans to launch about 10 new gasoline-electric models by 2015 and offer a fuel-sipping option across its entire line-up around 2020.
In expectation of strong demand from emerging markets, Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's biggest carmaker, plans to boost its global production output by 20 per cent to a record 8.65 million vehicles in 2012. (See: Toyota to raise 2012 production to record high; plans merger of three group entities)