TOKYO, JAPAN – Toyota Motor Corp. plans to increase production of its Prius hybrid cars in Japan to 300,000 units in 2007, a rise of 50 percent, reports Reuters. According to the business daily Nihon Keizai, the automaker would shift production of other models away from plants where it also produces Prius sedans and increase output of the hybrid while limiting additional investment.

Although a Toyota spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the report, the company announced in June it would double the number of hybrid cars in its lineup soon after 2010. It currently mounts the system on seven models, including the Prius, and has targeted sales of 1 million hybrid cars annually soon after 2010.

Toyota has mapped out a plan to increase sales by rolling out new strategic cars and boosting plant efficiencies, forecasting its group global vehicle sales will grow 11 percent to 9.8 million units in 2008 from an expected 8.85 million units this year, supported by the planned addition of 1.13 million units in output capacity worldwide by then, according to Reuters.