October 31, 2013 / 5:59 PM / 6 years ago

Toyota plans to launch large hybrid SUVs in 2016: Nikkei

A logo of Toyota is seen on the steering wheel of Toyota's ultra-compact tandem two-seater electric vehicle i-ROAD during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media briefing in Tokyo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

(Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) plans to roll out hybrid versions of its large sport utility vehicles from 2016 to prepare for tougher environmental regulations, the Nikkei reported, quoting sources.

The automaker intends to develop hybrid systems capable of powering such big vehicles, the newspaper reported.

Toyota plans to add a hybrid version of the Land Cruiser SUV to the line-up and introduce such versions of its international multipurpose vehicles, such as the Fortuner, designed for emerging markets, the business daily reported.

Toyota, which debuted its first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997, now offers about 20 hybrid models, mostly passenger cars, according to the Nikkei.

The company has sold more than 5 million hybrid cars globally so far, the newspaper said.

Toyota’s hybrid cars such as the Crown are 20-30 percent more fuel-efficient than non-hybrid models, the Nikkei said.

Improving mileage has become a key issue for automakers as the United States and other countries tighten environmental rules, the newspaper said.

Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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