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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toyota set to build Yaris / Vitz hybrid in Europe 2011

Now that hybrid tech is becoming more widespread, Toyota is looking to push its gas-electric offerings down a notch after the not-too-well-received Sai-based Lexus HS. According to Reuters, Toyota ain't scurred of the hit it has recently taken to its hybrid sales and is readying a European-market Yaris (Vitz in Japan) hybrid that will be manufactured in Valenciennes, France next year.
With Honda set to debut its Jazz / Fit hybrid in Paris, Toyota thinks a Yaris hybrid may be able to help get more Europeans on its own hybrid bandwagon. Clearly hybrids are still a good way promote backing off of oil dependency, but Toyota has a couple hurdles to clear before success is in the cards.
First, hybrids have not been a huge hit in Europe, a market that traditionally prefers diesel engines, and second, Toyota needs to continue to improve its image after the recalls it has been enduring.
If a Yaris hybrid officially gets a green light, we could see a concept /prototype / teaser as early as Paris or possibly early next year. We'll let you know more as soon as we know more.

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