Toyota Motor Corp. plans to produce hybrid cars in Australia and Thailand as global demand for energy-efficient vehicles surges along with oil prices, Japan's top business daily said Saturday.
Toyota, the world's second-biggest automaker by annual vehicle sales, will roll out the hybrid version of the popular Camry sedan in Thailand at the end of 2009 and in Australia as early as in 2010, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said.
The paper did not cite sources as is common in Japanese media reports.
Officials at Toyota could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Toyota is hoping to sell 1 million hybrids a year sometime after 2010. Japan's top automaker took a decade before recently reaching cumulative sales of 1 million for the Prius, the world's first mass produced gas-electric hybrid.
Hybrids, which save on gas by switching between a gasoline engine and electric motor, are growing increasingly popular because of soaring gas prices and growing fears about global warming.
The majority of global Prius sales are in the U.S., where demand for small cars is surging. California has among the toughest emissions regulations in the world, helping making the Prius popular there.
Other automakers, including General Motors Corp. and Honda Motor Co., are trying to catch up with Toyota with their hybrids.