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First hybrid Camry built in US rolls off assembly line

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- The first US-made hybrid of the nation's most popular family sedan, the Toyota Camry, rolled off the assembly line yesterday, positioning the Japanese automaker to take an even larger share of the gasoline-electric vehicle market in the United States.

Plans call for production of up to 48,000 more at the Georgetown Toyota plant this year, giving car buyers the option of a midsize hybrid that provides better gas mileage than most conventional compact vehicles -- 43 miles per gallon on the highway, 37 in the city.

With high fuel costs, Toyota Motor Co. is banking on drivers' moving to more fuel-efficient vehicles. The automaker makes the most popular hybrid, the Prius, which has outsold all other gas-electric models combined.

Over the last year, Toyota spent $10 million to modify equipment and train workers to produce the hybrid model at the Georgetown plant.

. Hybrids accounted for 1.2 percent of the 16.99 million vehicles sold in the United States last year.

The base retail price for the 2007 hybrids is $25,900.

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