Toyota rules out baby hybrid in the immediate future
29 July 2009

Toyota currently has no plans to a build a Yaris hybrid, despite reports suggesting European production of the model could begin in France within two years.

It has been widely reported in Japan that a Yaris hybrid would go on sale in 2011 for around £13,000 and production would take place in both Japan and France.

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The Japanese firm plans to have a hybrid option available in every model by 2020, but the efficiency of small engines means a full Prius-style hybrid system is unlikely to feature in small cars like the Yaris in the near future, a Toyota source told Autocar.

“Toyota has no plans at present to build a Yaris hybrid in France or anywhere else,” said the source. “The hybrid system we have works well in the bigger cars like the Lexus as it helps to cut CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy next to its competitors.

“But cars like the Yaris are already efficient and the system would be difficult to implement. Any gains would be marginal.”

Toyota has said it plans to sell one million hybrids globally by early in the next decade, and with new models such as the third-generation Prius and Auris hybrid, it is on course to meet these initial targets.

Stop-start technology is already available in the Yaris and any hybrid model is unlikely to be available until the later part of the next decade, when battery efficiency increases.

“You only have to look at the difference between the first and third generation Prius models to see how far the technology has come,” said the source.

“With battery size and weight coming down all the time and efficiency increasing, smaller cars are more likely to benefit from hybrid systems further into the future, nearer Toyota’s 2020 target. The switch to lithium ion batteries will help this process as well.”

Toyota confirmed earlier this month that the Auris hybrid will be built in the UK, with production starting in 2010.

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Mark Tisshaw

Our Verdict

Toyota Yaris

The original Toyota Yaris was a landmark car, since then it has lost ground to more talented rivals. Can it regain its crown from the formidable and long in the tooth Ford Fiesta?

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