Toyota Turbocharges Its Engine Lineup

Toyota plans to introduce 11 new or redesigned hybrids to its lineup by 2012, but it doesn't ignore the fact that consumers are still demanding traditional internal-combustion propelled vehicles. To satisfy the needs of such customers, the carmaker is looking to upgrade its power units with turbochargers and direct fuel injection.

The new upgrades will provide more power, but at the same time they will have increased fuel efficiency and lower tailpipe emissions.

"In the next five years, the general trend is downsizing of engines and the use of turbochargers," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Executive Vice President in charge of Research and Development.

Turbos and direct fuel injection will be added to the entire lineup, even in four-cylinder engines on models such as the Corolla and Camry, he said.

"Eventually, we will see significant numbers of vehicles carrying engines with turbochargers," said Uchiyamada, who was chief engineer of the first-generation Prius.

The changes don't stop here, with expanded use of idle stop technology to be included. The system saves fuel by turning the engine off when the car is stopped, and advances in variable valve systems.

Toyota needs to implement new technologies to keep its crown from being stolen from rivals like South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co., which has made great steps forward in eco-friendly technologies and is aiming to lead the green car market.

Of the 11 newcomers, four will be model changes of existing hybrids. The other seven will be either hybrid-only models or hybrid versions of previous gasoline only models, confirmed Uchiyamada.

Toyota expects hybrid sales to rise to 1 million units by 2015. In 2009, Toyota sold approximately 530,000 hybrids worldwide. The US market will still only account for 10 to 20 percent of Toyota's hybrid sales by 2020.
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