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Toyota To Increase Use of ‘Ecological Plastic’ in Vehicle Interiors

toyota_ecological_plastic.jpgToyota announced plans to increase the use of plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in more vehicle models, starting with a new hybrid vehicle next year.  The company’s newly developed plastics, collectively known as “Ecological Plastic,” are expected to be used in scuff plates, headliners, seat cushions and other interior vehicle parts.

The company says that by 2010 it will aim for ecological plastic to account for approximately 60 percent of the interior components in vehicles that feature it.

Toyota says ecological plastics emit less CO2 during its lifecycle than plastic made solely from petroleum. The company says ecological plastics meet the heat-resistance and shock-resistance demands of vehicle interiors through the use of various compounding technologies.

Earlier this month, the company suspended the completion of its newest plant near Tupelo, Mississippi, amid declining auto sales.

To crunch down further, Toyota plans to postpone large capital investments, eliminate executive bonuses, and has suspended its plan to increase production capacity in Brazil and India. It will also freeze plans to increase annual production capacity at one of its factories in China by 50% to 150,000 units by the end of 2009, according to Japan’s Nikkei business daily (via Industry Week).

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