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Hybrids become the top U.S. priority for Toyota

"Automotive News" reports on Toyota's plans to speed up hybrid production for the U.S.

Automotive News

CHICAGO--Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter said the brand will put more emphasis on hybrid vehicles in its future U.S. lineup.

"It is just a reprioritization of where we think the customer is today and where the customer is going to be 24 and 36 months from now," Carter said in an interview this month at the Chicago Auto Show.

Introducing vehicles with hybrid technology has a higher priority today than developing a spiritual successor to the Celica or Supra, for example. Toyota's FT-HS coupe concept, shown at the 2007 Detroit auto show, had been expected to become a production vehicle, possibly as soon as 2011.

Carter hinted that it might be a lesser priority now. "Personally, I would love to have a sporty car, but it is pretty clear what the market is looking for right now," he said.

He added that today's buyer wants "high-quality, fuel-efficient, low-impact-environment products."

(Source: "Automotive News")