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European 'mild hybrids' pose risk to Japanese automakers

Simpler models offer quick and dirty way to meet clean-car standards

Mercedes-Benz began offering a simple hybrid system for its C-Class models. (Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

TOKYO -- Automakers based in Europe are increasingly adopting low-cost, simple hybrid systems in their vehicles, a development that could undercut Japanese rivals whose more complete models have long dominated this eco-friendly field.

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