Toyota has been instrumental in popularising hybrid technology globally, but it’s reportedly looking to source hybrid powertrains from another brand.

    Chinese news outlet Caijing reports Toyota may use BYD’s DM-i “super hybrid” system in an expansion of the two companies’ existing collaboration.

    The publication reports two or three plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Toyotas using this system will reportedly be launched in the next two to three years.

    The outlet also suggests Toyota could move away from offering its traditional hybrid vehicles.

    “But what is certain is that even if BYD’s DM-i technology is adopted, Toyota will definitely carry out new polishing and tuning, and the driving experience of the final model will still be different,” a source told Caijing.

    Toyota has a wide range of hybrid models in China, but a much smaller range of plug-in hybrids. This includes the RAV4 and its Wildlander twin.

    The Japanese brand is reportedly looking at using BYD’s technology as it’s low in cost and the technology is relatively mature.

    BYD has become a leader in not only plug-in hybrids in China, but also in overall sales. It was the number one brand in that market last year, ahead of Volkswagen in second place and Toyota in third.

    It also managed this feat despite not selling any traditional combustion-powered vehicles. Since 2022, BYD has exclusively built plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

    Toyota and BYD have already collaborated, establishing a 50/50 joint venture and developing the Toyota bZ3 sedan which uses a BYD Blade lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery.

    BYD’s rise in China has come at the expense of brands like Toyota, which operates two joint ventures with state-owned carmakers FAW and GAC.

    The Japanese brand’s sales in the market – the world’s largest – have fallen for two consecutive years despite a wide range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

    The Chinese car market has also been beset with price wars, which BYD has participated in, though these have largely revolved around electric vehicles (EVs).

    Toyota only has the bZ3 and bZ4X EVs in China at the moment, but has revealed additional members of its bZ EV family.

    MORE: Everything Toyota
    MORE: Everything BYD

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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