Toyota has launched a new compact hybrid concept at the Detroit motor show as the Japanese giant deepens its commitment to the technology.
The Toyota FT-CH has been designed for urban use and is the firm’s smallest hybrid yet, being 560mm shorter than the current Prius. Although not officially tipped for production, the FT-CH could be used as a starting point for the long-rumoured Toyota Prius coupe to rival Honda’s upcoming CR-Z.
Toyota USA boss Jim Lentz said the firm was keen to develop a Prius family and the FT-CH could well be part of it.
“We're developing a Prius family to take advantage of the Prius brand,” he said. “There are more models planned and FT-CH is a concept that we are considering.”
In the US, the car could be badged as a Scion, Toyota’s youth-orientated brand.
The FT-CH has been sculpted by Toyota ED2 design studio in Nice and has been designed to appeal to a younger audience than the traditional Prius buyer. The FT-CH is lighter and more efficient than a Prius and will also be sold at a lower price point should it make production.
It is also nimbler and more sports orientated that the firm’s hybrid flagship, but has still been designed to maximise interior space and comfort.
Toyota’s hybrid system will soon become the firm’s core powertrain, with the firm aiming to sell more than one million hybrid units globally by the early part of this decade.
Over the next few years, Toyota will launch eight new hybrid models, all of which will be brand new models and not just next-generation models of current cars in its line-up.