Toyota has reacted to the global economic slowdown by confirming that, as we reported last week, it is trimming its sales targets for the next 18 months. The company is also shifting greater emphasis onto low-emissions vehicles. Cutbacks will effect Toyota’s Burnaston plant near Derby, which will lose one of its two shifts on the Auris line in response to slowing sales. According to Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchivamada, Toyota has no plans to make redundancies among permanent staff at the factory, which also builds the Avensis and assembles engines for other European plants. On the product front, Toyota will launch 18 new low-emission vehicles over the next 16 months, including the new iQ city car and new, third-generation Prius hybrid, which will definitely be launched at January’s Detroit motor show. Toyota will also launch a new fuel-sipping 1.3-litre petrol engine and it promises to continue reducing C02 emissions “across its full product line-up”.Executive vice-president Masatami Takimoto said Toyota would also produce a small electric vehicle for the early 2010s, by which point the firm plans to be building and selling one million hybrids per year. It is particularly determined to use fewer parts for the next cycle of cars, and the iQ, which systematically miniaturises and lightens all major components, is said to be a key example of Toyota’s aggressive new way of thinking.