Toyota chairman says hybrids will soon have 20% global share

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Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

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 to top management that we design a that would achieve one and a times better fuel than anything that before,” Uchiyamada said. top management wasn’t satisfied and the Project G21 team: “Double it. You are not ambitious enough,” the 67-year-old recounted during a recent to Milan, Italy.

Twenty-one years and more 6 million Toyota and Lexus later, Uchiyamada knows he and his achieved their mission.


While hybrids are key in the U.S. and Japanese markets remain niche products in Combined sales of gasoline-electric, and plug-in hybrids in Europe more than 40 percent year to 214,237 units, to JATO Dynamics, but that in an overall market share of than 2 percent. To put it another Toyota’s 2013 U.S. for the Prius (234,228) topped the volume in Europe last

The reason is that many powertrains offered in Europe can or beat the fuel economy of a at a lower starting price.

the struggles in Europe, Uchiyamada is so on hybrids that he said his prediction excludes the plug-in which is a technology that Group, which ranked to Toyota in global sales year, is betting on heavily. an interview with Automotive Europe sister publication last year, VW Group CEO Winterkorn said that of all the powertrains being developed for cars “the plug-in has the greatest potential.” VW Group a number of models with the including the Audi A3 E-tron debuts this year.

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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