October 31, 2013 / 5:59 PM / 4 years ago

Toyota plans to launch large hybrid SUVs in 2016: Nikkei

(Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) plans to roll out hybrid versions of its large sport utility vehicles from 2016 to prepare for tougher environmental regulations, the Nikkei reported, quoting sources.

A logo of Toyota is seen on the steering wheel of Toyota's ultra-compact tandem two-seater electric vehicle i-ROAD during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media briefing in Tokyo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

The automaker intends to develop hybrid systems capable of powering such big vehicles, the newspaper reported.

Toyota plans to add a hybrid version of the Land Cruiser SUV to the line-up and introduce such versions of its international multipurpose vehicles, such as the Fortuner, designed for emerging markets, the business daily reported.

Toyota, which debuted its first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997, now offers about 20 hybrid models, mostly passenger cars, according to the Nikkei.

The company has sold more than 5 million hybrid cars globally so far, the newspaper said.

Toyota’s hybrid cars such as the Crown are 20-30 percent more fuel-efficient than non-hybrid models, the Nikkei said.

Improving mileage has become a key issue for automakers as the United States and other countries tighten environmental rules, the newspaper said.

Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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