Toyota Australia is planning to build a hybrid version of its family-sized Camry or Aurion and have it on sale within four years.
Toyota's head of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner says one will get the hybrid petrol-battery system.
Toyota sells three imported hybrids, the Prius, based on the Corolla; a Lexus prestige sedan, the GS450h; and all-wheel-drive wagon, the RX400h, while a V8 luxury saloon, the LS600hl is due later this year.
The home-grown hybrid would be built on the same lines as the Camry and Aurion at Toyota's Altona plant.
“We want to be the first local manufacturer with green credentials. We want to be known as the company that was first to market,” Buttner says. “We want to be the leader on this issue. We have been looking at the Camry and Aurion for the hybrid and it's looking like the Aurion. It will go on sale in 2011 or 2012.”
Toyota has been encouraged by the take-up rate of its hybrid Prius.
“When launched, 3 per cent of sales went to private buyers, now it's 39 per cent,” Buttner says.
"Demand for our Lexus hybrids is double (our) expectations."