More MBS CoverageTRAVERSE CITY, MI – Toyota Motor Corp. has 10 gas-electric hybrid vehicles in development, says the company’s top U.S. executive.

The list includes the already announced Lexus GS and Toyota Camry hybrids, due next year.

The remaining eight should be available by early next decade. Not all necessarily will be sold in the U.S., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. President and chief operating officer Jim Press says at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

“We’re going to continue to introduce the (hybrid) powertrains into products as the models go through their model-changeover cycles,” he says.

A hybrid powertrain in a pickup truck is a necessity, he says, if the auto maker is to meet the goal set by Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe to sell 1 million hybrids worldwide by 2010.

GS one of ten hybrids coming.

“Yes, trucks have to be included,” Press says, adding that a hybrid Tundra is under study. “Obviously, if we’re going to get that kind of volume, we’re going to have to have those kinds of products with hybrid powertrains.”

As hybrids move into larger vehicles, customers may be able to choose between whether they want to save gas, or burn rubber, Press says.

“I think at some point you’ll even have a button (in the car), mileage vs. performance, because you’re managing the system,” he says.

Some of the 10 hybrids are part of the 16 new vehicles Toyota will launch in the U.S. in the next 30 months, Press says.

He estimates that by decade's end, 25% of all Toyota's U.S. sales will be hybrid vehicles.

cschweinsberg@primediabusiness.com