New Crown Hybrid could foretell Toyota's new sales strategy

Toyota has an ambitious goal to begin selling one million hybrids per year by early next decade, and the Japanese automaker's home market Crown sedan reveals part of Toyota's strategy. The Crown Hybrid will only be available on the top line model, which also features industry firsts such as an LCD instrument panel, and a night vision pedestrian detector. The goal for Toyota is to make an actual profit on all of its hybrids, and the added tech amenities will help make the sharply higher prices easier to swallow. Unfortunately, the added cost of the Crown Hybrid will be about $21,600, which could buy you a Prius.

Head Toyota hybrid engineer Shinichi Matsumoto told Automotive News that the automaker is also engineering the flexibility of both hybrid and conventional powertrains in all future vehicle architectures. That means Toyota can and most likely will give every vehicle in its lineup a battery-assisted model, which will come in handy as fuel prices continue to wildly fluctuate. It's just unfortunate that the folks that can least afford $4 or $5 fuel prices won't be able to buy vehicles that can cushion the blow. Let's hope Toyota also continues to offer an affordable hybrid like the Prius, because one shouldn't have to purchase a rear camera, moon roof and upscale leather seats to save at the pump.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]

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