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TOKYO — Thanks to a hybrid system technology licensing agreement it entered with Toyota, Mazda plans to develop and build a hybrid vehicle that will likely go on sale in Japan by 2013.

Essentially, Mazda will take the hybrid technology supplied by Toyota — which is what is used in the Toyota Prius — and blend it with its Sky engine (which is currently being developed) to build its first hybrid offering, The new model will first be rolled out in Japan.

"TMC recognizes the importance of benefiting the environment by encouraging the popularization of its eco-friendly technologies, which are represented by its hybrid systems," officials said. "Accordingly, TMC has announced that it will consider requests from other companies to supply hybrid technology."

Mazda said it hopes for a 30-percent boost in its global lineup's average fuel efficiency (as compared to the 2008 model line) by five years from now.

"In order to offer all of its customers driving pleasure as well as outstanding eco-friendly and safety performance, Mazda is implementing a Building Block Strategy," officials explained.

"Under this strategy, Mazda will enhance the core aspects of its vehicles — including engines, transmissions and weight reduction — and then progressively add electric devices such as idling stop, regenerative braking and hybrid systems," they added.

Officials noted that Sky is the "concept name" for all Mazda engines and transmission slated to be introduced in 2011 or later.