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 |  Jan 19 2010, 11:41 AM

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With 500,000 hybrids sold last year, Toyota aims to double that number by 2011. Japan’s largest automaker had announced plans to reach the one million goal early in this decade, but a report in Japan’s Nikkei suggests Toyota is now looking at very-early in this decade.

Part of the reason for Toyota’s optimism is the fact that in 2009 the Prius was the top selling car in Japan – helped significantly by government incentives. It’s also been a hit in North America.

Along with several other hybrid versions of Toyota platforms, the automaker is looking to introduce eight all new hybrids in the near future. One of these will be a new compact model, based on the FT-CH Hybrid Concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show (above). Toyota has said it will expand the Prius name to become an entire line of vehicles.

Another hybrid coming down the pipe include a hybrid Auris for the U.K.

During Toyota’s press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales president, said that in the future hybrids will be the core powertrain technology for Toyota and that Toyota believes hybrid technology will become the staple throughout the auto industry.

[Source: Nikkei via LeftLaneNews]

Detroit 2010: Toyota FT-CH Concept Previews Compact Prius Model

Funky entry-level hybrid inspired by Nintendo games

 |  Jan 11 2010, 10:40 AM

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Toyota has announced that it will expand the Prius name to become an entire family of dedicated hybrid vehicles. Launched today at the Detroit Auto Show, the FT-CH Hybrid Concept is a look at what the next model in the Prius lineup is likely to be.

Inspired by 8-bit technology made famous by early Nintendo games like Contra and Mario Brothers, the car is funky with plenty of edges and even some square holes designed into the bodywork.

As for the car itself, it is 22-inches shorter than the current Prius, but has a wheelbase that is only 6-inches shorter, offering maximum interior room. Inside, there’s room for four. The name itself signifies the car’s designation, with the CH standing for Compact Hybrid. According to Toyota, “The FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.”

There’s no word from Toyota on what is under the hood, other than some sort of Hybrid Synergy Drive system, that gets better fuel mileage than the Prius – an impressive feat indeed when the current third-generation Prius nets 51/48 mpg (city/highway).

Toyota is expected to deliver this model to market, keeping much of its fresh and funky design.

“Other dedicated hybrid models are also on their way. “In the early 2010s, Toyota plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of those in North America,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales president. “To accomplish this, Toyota will launch eight all new hybrid models over the next few years.  These will not include next generation versions of current hybrids; instead, they will be all new dedicated hybrid vehicles, or all new hybrid versions of existing gas engine models.”

Lentz also commented that in the future hybrids will be the core powertrain technology for Toyota and that Toyota believes hybrid technology will become the staple throughout the auto industry.

GALLERY: Toyota FT-CH Hybrid Concept

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GALLERY: Toyota FT-CH Hybrid Concept Official Photos

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Official release after the jump:

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