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This piece of information comes to us from no less than Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Here's the story by James Treece of Automotive News:

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- One-quarter of Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. sales by the end of the decade will be hybrid vehicles, Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said Wednesday at the Management Briefing Seminars.

Toyota has 10 hybrid vehicles under development for global markets, in addition to the ones it already has launched, Press said. Those will go on sale between now and the end of the decade, he said.

Hybrids could account for "10, 12 or 15 percent" of industry-wide sales by the end of the decade, he said. Press added that he could not be specific about the percentage because he doesn't know what other automakers have planned.

However, "the demand will be there," Press said.

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe has set a new goal of 1 million hybrid sales a year globally early next decade.

"At our current rate of sales, that's about 600,000 hybrids in the U.S.," Press said. "To achieve that goal, we will have to look at offering hybrid power systems in virtually all of our vehicles, including trucks."

Toyota is studying development of hybrid-powered pickups, he said. Toyota engineers in Japan have said that development of hybrid pickups is lagging that of other vehicles.

Also, Press said it's possible that future hybrid owners may be able to choose whether they want to see improved mileage or performance from a hybrid powertrain by pushing a button on the instrument panel.

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