Toyota: Cost on hyrids to reduce, leading to more hybrid car production

Masatami Takimoto, executive vice president in charge of powertrain development, said Thursday that by 2010 Toyota expects to cut cost on the development hybrid cars enough to make as much profit on them as they do with gasoline cars.

“By then, we expect margins to be equal to gasoline cars,” he told Reuters in an interview at Toyota”s headquarters in Toyota City, central Japan.

Cost-cutting efforts on the hybrid system”s motor, battery and inverter could give Toyota the ability to reach its sales goal of one million hybrids annually by 2010. Toyota sold 313,000 hyrids in 2006, accounting for the majority of hybrid sales in the world.

Toyota is expected to launch the next generation Prius late next year along with another hybrid-only model to follow after that. The Toyota Yaris is also expected to get a hybrid system.

Currently, the Japanese auto maker produces hybrid variants for the Camry and Highlander models.