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The world’s top carmaker, Toyota Motor, plans to launch six new hybrid models by end-2012 as competition to build greener cars heats up, according to Wall Street Journal article reported by AFP news.

The six planned models will expand Toyota’s hybrid engine range of vehicles that run on petrol and electricity at a time when rivals such as Nissan are developing all-electric vehicles, according to the report, which was carried in Malaysia’s Business Times.

Citing a Toyota official in Detroit, the Wall Street report said the six new hybrids would include two luxury brand Lexus vehicles and four Toyota models.

Some will be hybrid models only – like the Prius – while others will also have a petrol engine variant, the report said. All of the hybrids will be new, and not next-generation versions of existing models.

Toyota’s Prius hybrid has been a success for the carmaker, particularly in Japan where the compact vehicle has topped the country’s best-seller list since May last year.

The carmaker has been plagued by safety recalls in the past year for unintended acceleration, engine, steering and brake problems, with around 10 million vehicles in total affected.

It is now looking to compete with rivals in the increasingly competitive environmentally friendly market.

Nissan’s all-electric Leaf vehicle, which has a top speed of more than 140km an hour and is powered by a lithium battery, will go on sale later this year. – Source Malaysian Business Times

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