Toyota charts hybrid car journey

Toyota charts hybrid car journey
Japanese automobile giant Toyota is keen on pushing hybrid technologies, as it drives its way into the future, even as the technology will take time to firmly plant itself in India.

“Toyota’s focus, based on environment considerations, will progressively shift towards electric cars, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Given India’s increasing oil consumption, the country may have little choice but to incentivise the manufacture of electric cars, hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Vice Chairman and Whole-time Director Shekar Viswanathan told Deccan Herald.

In the recently concluded Auto Expo in Greater Noida, the company showcased the new hybrid Prius, which it plans to launch in India, later this year. Currently, it retails the luxurious Camry Hybrid in the country.

The company is a force to reckon with in the realm of alternative fuel technologies around the world. But in India, the company has grown substantially, thanks to its diesel portfolio.

The recent ban by the Supreme Court on diesel vehicles — with engine capacities of 2,000 cc and above — has dealt a blow to many automakers including Toyota, with the latter challenging the ban, and awaiting the court verdict on Thursday (February 18).

“We don’t agree with the ban, and have represented to the authorities that engine capacity doesn’t have any direct correlation with emissions, except that diesel spews particulate matter that is found to be carcinogenic,” Viswanathan informed. The ban, which is active in the Delhi-NCR region (the largest car market in India), has hit sales of more than 1,000 units of the company’s cars — Fortuner and Innova.

“If the ban continues, our production, employment and dealers’ business will be hit, while it is having an unintended effect of benefiting some players, while disadvantaging others,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the Auto Expo, the company showcased its new Innova Crysta -- with a new diesel engine with a 5-speed manual transmission, and for the first time, has introduced a 6-speed automatic transmission. It expects to sell the car, unless any legal restriction stops it from doing so.

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