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Toyota To Launch Plug-In Hybrid, Prius Brand Could Spread

Toyota plans to lease plug-in hybrid cars, that recharge from electrical outlets, by 2010, Boston Globe reports. The move puts Toyota in direct competition with General Motors, which has announced plans to sell its own plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, sometime around 2010.

In other news, Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said that the company has been so successful marketing Scion and Lexus cars as a brand that it may use those lessons to support a lineup of hybrid vehicles under the brand of Prius, the Associated Press reports.  Prius has been the top seller in the U.S. hybrid market.  Last year, Toyota sold more than 181,000 Prius hybrids, a 68% increase from the previous year.  Hybrids currently account for more than 2 percent of domestic vehicle sales.

Last year, Toyota’s V.P. pledged to be 100% hybrid by 2020.  Toyota was recently ranked by consumers as the greenest car company.

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