Toyota will add a sportier line of hybrids that will be sold alongside its fuel-saving gasoline-electric models.
“One will provide the traditional benefits of efficiency and fuel economy, like in the current offer. The second will build on this, adding more power and a more dynamic driving character,” Toyota Europe boss Johan van Zyl said at the auto show here.
Toyota will reveal more details about its high-performance hybrids “early next year,” van Zyl said. The decision to add the sportier variants was triggered by customer feedback, he said.
Toyota’s first example of where it’s headed with the line is the C-HR Hy-Power design study that the automaker unveiled in Frankfurt. The concept has been developed by Toyota’s European design center.
Toyota will need to simplify its engine range as it adds more hybrid variants, said the automaker’s European development chief, Gerald Killmann.
“The Auris currently has two gasoline engines, two diesels and one hybrid, but the hybrid version accounts for 60 percent of sales. Do we need all these engines or can we replace some of them with a second hybrid powertrain?” he said.
Toyota also revealed in Frankfurt its face-lifted Land Cruiser large SUV. The body-on-frame vehicle adds a new locking differential to improve handling. The SUV’s lead engine in Europe is a 2.8-liter diesel. In Russia and other markets in Eastern Europe the Land Cruise will be offered with 2.7- and 4.0-liter gasoline engines.
Toyota increased first-half European sales by 11 percent compared with 2016. The sales rise boosted the automaker’s market share by 0.3 percent to 4.9 percent.
The Toyota Group, which includes Lexus, is on track for full-year sales of 1 million vehicles in Europe (including Russia and Turkey) largely because of the success of the recently launched C-HR compact SUV and strong demand for hybrids, which are up 52 percent compared with 2016.