Toyota will launch a hybrid version of its Auris hatchback this autumn, and the car will be built in the UK at the Burnaston factory in Derbyshire.
The Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive will share its petrol-electric drivetrain with the new Prius — so that means it has a 98bhp 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and an 80bhp electric motor.
But it will cost less, partly because it is a smaller car and partly because it will be less well equipped. The Auris will give Toyota a more direct rival for the Honda Insight, although Toyota’s hybrid system is more sophisticated than its rival’s.
The lower weight and smaller size could make the Auris hybrid Toyota’s cleanest model when it is launched at this autumn’s Frankfurt show, undercutting the new Prius’s 87g/km of CO2.
The hybrid Auris launch will follow the arrival of the new Prius this month, and will in turn be followed by a hybrid RAV4.
The three models are all built on the same platform; they are part of a strategy aimed at boosting Toyota’s annual hybrid sales to a million units. The firm’s wider aim is to base its image on offering models with strong environmental credentials.