Toyota is aiming for one out of every two cars sold in Japan next year to be a gasoline-electric hybrid.
Japan’s largest automaker sold 684,000 hybrids last year, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. With the next version of the best-selling Prius due out later this year, Toyota expects to push that number to 760,000 based on information leaked by parts suppliers.
The move stems from new government regulations that would raise road taxes on gasoline-powered car. Estimates from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association say that the tariffs could total as much as 100,000 yen, or US $836. The stricter rules would cut the number of cars eligible for low emissions tax breaks from 80 to 50 percent.
As many as 40 percent of all passenger cars sold in Japan could be hybrids as a result of the new tax incentives. In comparison, US hybrid sales are approximately 3 percent of the market.
The article also states that Subaru plans to unveil a hybrid version of the Impreza hatchback in May, likely powered by the same drivetrain that runs the XV Crosstrek. The next Prius should return at least 94 mpg.