BRASILIA Oct 15 Toyota Motor Corp presented the Brazilian government on Tuesday with a preliminary plan to establish a local factory building hybrid vehicles in exchange for new tax incentives.
That could make Toyota the first company producing such cars in Brazil, where high production costs, a huge sugar ethanol industry and a market focused on entry-level subcompacts have marginalized the role of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Toyota would initially increase imports of hybrids. The company began selling its hybrid Prius to the Brazilian public in January at a cost of more than 120,000 reais ($55,000).
"The initial idea would be to import and later produce locally," Luiz Carlos Andrade Jr, a senior vice-president for Toyota, told journalists in Brasilia.
"A technology like this needs to be incentivized," he said after a meeting with finance ministry officials. "We presented the possibility of making hybrid vehicles in the country."
National carmaker association Anfavea proposed in early July that Brazil eliminate an industrial tax for manufacturers of electric and hybrid cars through 2017.
Government officials made no public comments on Toyota's proposal.