Hybrids to account for 20 per cent of global car sales: Toyota

Hybrids to account for 20 per cent of global car sales: Toyota

One in five vehicles sold around the world will be powered by a hybrid powertrain in 2020, according to a bold prediction from Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada.

The creator of the original Toyota Prius says the rise of sporty hybrids - such as the Lexus GSInfiniti Q50 and Porsche Panamera – and the sustained growth in hybrid passenger cars will garner a large spike in overall sales in the coming years.

Uchiyamada’s forecast applies only to conventional petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrids and not plug-in hybrid applications (which can be recharged from household powerpoints and generally drive for short distances on electricity alone) such as Holden’s Volt, meaning the overall proportion in global sales would be greater if the prediction materialises.

“I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 per cent of global sales from about 13 per cent to 14 per cent now,” Uchiyamada told Automotive News.

He said the overheads were the biggest hindrance in the growth of plug-in hybrids.

Of the 25 hybrid models Toyota and Lexus sell around the world, one is a plug-in application.

The Toyota chairman, who started at the company in 1969, declined to give a separate forecast for plug-in hybrids, but said Toyota was: “closely watching what our competitors are doing”.

“Suppliers need higher volumes to slash costs of components specific to plug-in models, including batteries that should be bigger and more capable than the ones used in traditional hybrids,” Uchiyamada said.

The Toyota Prius, which uses a conventional hybrid configuration, remains the best selling hybrid car in the world – helping to underline more than 6 million hybrid sales combined between Toyota and Lexus.

In Australia, hybrids currently account for about 1 per cent of overall vehicle sales, with about 12,000 sales last year. Electric vehicles account for an even smaller percentage, amounting to 188 sales in 2013.

From: Drive