Toyota Motor (TM) is already the largest maker of hybrid vehicles, offering seven different models in the U.S. market. But the automaker's plans call for it introduce six new models by the end of 2012 and to offer two plug-in hybrid vehicles, including a version of its popular Prius to be marketed as the least expensive car of its kind.

The introduction of six new hybrid models will raise Toyota's worldwide total to 20 hybrids, which use a combination of a gasoline- and electricity-powered engines, Reuters reported. The world's largest automaker, however, has been slower to move to offer all-electric or plug-in hybrids, unlike rivals Nissan Motors (NSANY) and General Motors.

Toyota's decision to introduce two plug-in hybrids is a direct counter to GM's Chevrolet Volt, which debuts later this year. Speaking in Detroit on Monday, Toyota product development chief Takeshi Uchiyamada said the automaker would aim to have a plug-in version of its Prius priced "so close to the current version that customers really have to hesitate and think about it," Reuters reported.

Currently, prices for Prius models start at under $24,000. Toyota said it expects the plug-in version to cost about $3,000 to $5,000 more, putting in the range of $28,000. That's considerably less than the $41,000 GM is asking for the Volt. It's also cheaper than the all-electric Nissan Leaf, which sells for about $33,000.

Toyota expects to begin selling a plug-in, rechargeable version of its Prius by June 2012, Reuters said. It expects to sell about 20,000 of the vehicles in the first year. The automaker is also developing a plug-in version of its RAV4 compact sports-utility vehicle, in collaboration with electric sports-car maker Tesla Motors (TSLA).

Further, Toyota is looking at the viability of introducing a hydrogen-powered vehicle to the U.S. market by 2015, but that effort requires costs to be cut by 95% as well as the establishment of a sufficient hydrogen refueling network.

Separately, Uchiyamada said Toyota has yet to find evidence of unintended acceleration in 150 Toyota vehicles, which were reported to have been involved in crashes, Detroit Free Press reported. Toyota has recalled some 8 million cars worldwide for the problem, which Toyota has blamed on sticky gas pedals and bulky floor mats.

Toyota's examination of the suspect cars' event data recorders, or black boxes, has shown no evidence of acceleration without driver input, Toyota said. Still, the company did find a software bug in some of readers used to download the recorders, but Uchiyamada said that flaw has been fixed.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Income Investing

Grow your nest-egg.

View Course »

Finding Stock Ideas

Learn to do your research and find investments.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

50 Comments

Filter by:
Fred

I wonder if they can afford the extra recalls lol

September 17 2010 at 5:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

The worst car I have ever owned was a toyota...right after the warranty expired the engine oil seal started leaking a lot. Right after that it started having transmission problems and the fuel pump went out. I was glad to get rid of the piece of junk. I have been much hapier with GM and Ford products. No more jap crap for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 17 2010 at 10:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hchevy

Diesel cars don't sell well because thay are expensive and they suck. Electric cars don't sell well because they are expensive and they are an unknown entity. There are many unknowns with electric cars such as cost to operate, cost to charge, where to recharge and maintenance and repair costs down the road. After those issues are worked out they will just not sell well because the suck.

September 15 2010 at 6:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dterraman

used auto parts, and do it yourself repair kit sales on the rise

September 15 2010 at 6:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
oredrag

With the Ford Mustang at 31 mpg and 305 hp for their v-6? They're already cornering a section of the market. By now, small v-8s should be getting that kind of mileage! The GM volt at that price? Are they completely NUTZ? Thats just like GM to rip-off the consumer putting a rediculous price on front edge technology! Just like GM with their same old greed ridden upper management!

September 15 2010 at 6:09 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
richard

Sherrie, I hate to break the news to you, but Consumers Reports is a joke. Don`t believe everything you read.

September 14 2010 at 11:28 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
richard

News today, Japanese govervment intervenes to lower the value of the yen to boost Jap exports. Hey America, do you see what`s going on? Keep buying that Japanese crap. Wonder why your kid is still living at home when he`s 32?

September 14 2010 at 11:06 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to richard's comment
Mike

You are exactly right Richard...COME ON AMERICA...BUY CARS AND TRUCKS FROM AMERICAN COMPANIES...

September 17 2010 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
galbraith1065

one model explodes, the second has no brakes, the third accelerates randomly, the 4th rusts apart, the fifth burns through trannies, and the sixth model has roll over issues.

September 14 2010 at 10:39 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to galbraith1065's comment
Sherrie

You are referring to American vehicles, no doubt. Read the 2010 Buying Guide Issue of Consumer Reports to see which company has the safest, most reliable line. Toyota, of course, year after year. Apparently nothing changes, American car companies only aim for the most profit, not the most value, and until that changes Americans will continue to be drawn to Japanese vehicles.

September 14 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
ELIO M FERNANDEZ

With VW Jetta Diesel selling for $24,000 and MPG of 42 in the hwy. Why is America still sleeping and dreaming inside the box? Why don't we at least make cars like Jetta with Diesel engines? This cars will last much longer than gasoline engines do. Why at least don't we build a Diesel Hybrid Why pay so much for a car whos future is not sertain?

September 14 2010 at 10:00 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ELIO M FERNANDEZ's comment
stanislav2

Elio, resistance to diesels is part public perception, part economics in this country. Here, in the US, diesel fuel is on average sells for 10% more then gasoline. Diesel cars themselves, are usually priced at least 10% higher then their gas counterparts. Although diesel technology has improved significantly compared to cars made in 80's and even 90's, diesel engines typically deliver less power then gasoline engines of the same size. Given all these facts, despite 15-20% improvement in fuel economy, it's hard to justify diesel cars in the US unless you plan to own your VW Jetta for the next 10 years :)

September 15 2010 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
meepstein

Why not make all cars capable of using Flexfuel? That would bring down the cost of driving a lot. My 2000 Dodge Caravan uses it. I lose about 2-3 miles per gallon but I've saved anywhere from 25 to 50 cents a gallon. I would hurt the oil companies but they have been screwing the public for so long, who cares.

September 14 2010 at 5:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to meepstein's comment
alfredschrader

I invented a Hybrid that uses something I invented called a Strobe Drive. Will leave these sitting at the light or pass them like they are not moving. And yes, it's American.....Alfred-

September 14 2010 at 6:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply