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Toyota to roll out first plug-in hybrid car in China

Move comes in response to Beijing's 'new energy vehicle' rules

Toyota will show off its first plug-in hybrids in China at the Beijing motor show on April 25.   © Reuters

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor will unveil its first plug-in hybrid Corolla sedan and Levin compact car in China at the Beijing motor show, which opens April 25 in Beijing.

The move, announced Wednesday, is in line with new regulations in China that require automakers to manufacture and sell "new-energy vehicles," that is, electric cars and plug-in hybrids, starting next year.

The new cars will be the automaker's first plug-in hybrid Corolla and Levin models. Toyota is also rolling out a hybrid Camry sedan in China. Worldwide, Toyota aims to sell 5.5 million electrically powered cars, including hybrids and plug-ins, by 2030.

Under Beijing's electrification drive, more than 140,000 electrically powered cars were sold in China in 2017. Toyota has been under pressure to expand its lineup of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles to keep sales growing in the country. Toyota needs to roll out plug-ins in China because the hybrids it specializes do not qualify under China's new energy vehicle rules.

Toyota is expected to announce the release of electrically powered sport utility vehicles in China soon. The Japanese carmaker aims to sell more SUVs, which are increasingly popular in the country.

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