DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp expects industrywide sales of 11.5 million light vehicles in the United States this year, said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, at the North American International Auto Show on Monday.
Total U.S. sales in 2009 plunged to 10.4 million cars and light trucks, the lowest in 27 years due to the sluggish economy. But some makers including Toyota have seen a gradual recovery, and the U.S. sales of the world's largest carmaker in December rose 32 percent from a year earlier.
Toyota unveiled a concept version of a new compact hybrid vehicle, the FT-CH, at the auto show on Monday. The new gasoline-electric car is smaller than Toyota's Prius hybrid and could be cheaper.
We haven't decided whether we will actually launch this car because this is still a concept model. But the main target could be younger drivers, said Lentz, adding that it could be less expensive than Prius.
Lentz said Toyota is going to expand its hybrid line-up based on Prius and the new concept vehicle is one of several options to be the second member of the Prius family.
Toyota sold 195,000 hybrid cars, including the Prius and the Camry hybrid, in the United States last year, slightly more than 10 percent of its entire U.S. sales.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Nobuhiro Kubo; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)