Toyota is the latest automaker to announce it’s headed down the downsized engine path as it strives for improved fuel economy, following the likes of Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, all of which have announced similar plans in the recent past. Toyota has long been the champion of hybrid technology but even it has been lured by the relatively low cost and effectiveness of downsized engines featuring direct injection and turbocharging technologies.
The information was revealed by the automaker’s R&D chief and one of the key men behind the Prius, Takeshi Uchiyamada, who spoke recently with AutoWeek
"In the next five years, the general trend is downsizing of engines and the use of turbochargers," Uchiyamada said. "Another development will be direct fuel injection."
Toyota plans to use the technologies in its entire lineup, with everything from Corollas and Camrys getting the new fuel efficient powertrains. Both four-cylinder and V-6 units will be included, as well as increased use of engine stop-start technology and advances in variable valve systems.
Hybrid fans shouldn’t fret, however, as Toyota hasn’t forgotten the technology that’s helped it become one of the most recognized names in the green segment. Uchiyamada also revealed that 11 new or redesigned hybrid models will be introduced between now and 2012, including both standalone hybrids and gasoline-electric versions of existing models.
The medium-term goal for Toyota will be to sell around one million hybrid vehicles by 2015, almost double the number--530,000--the automaker sold last year.