Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada has called for an increase in sales of hybrid vehicles in the United States, saying they have a large role to play in the future of vehicles.
As AFP reports, Uchiyamada told the Economic Club of Washington, DCthat he would like to see five million hybrids sold in the US by the end of 2016.
Given that he was chief engineer of the Toyota team that developed the Prius, the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car, Uchiyamada has a strong interest in the issue.
"It's only when we put ourselves under the same kind of intense pressure we faced in developing the Prius that we can achieve great goals. That's what it takes. I want our industry to achieve this goal," Uchiyamada said.
"Some people say hybrid vehicles such as the Prius are only a bridge to the future. But we think it could be a long bridge and a very sturdy one.
"There are many more gains we can achieve with hybrids."
In March Toyota passed the five million mark for global sales of its hybrid vehicles, including the Prius. A new Prius hybrid sedan is scheduled for release in 2015.
Uchiyamada said that the auto industry needs to make significant efforts to meet the mileage standards established by President Obama's administration.
He pointed to a Toyota project to develop a new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that would have zero tailpipe emissions and eliminate some of the issues with electric vehicles, such as charging time and driving distance as a positive step.