Just a few weeks after Toyota officially announced that it would build a hybrid version of the Corolla-based Auris in the U.K., new reports suggest a similar (but smaller) model is being prepared for Japan and Europe. The car would be built in Japan for the Japanese market and Toyota has plans to build a European version in France.
Priced at just 1.5 million yen ($15,760) the hybrid sub-compact would compete with the upcoming Honda Fit Hybrid in a growing segment. It is likely to debut in 2010 as a 2011 model.
The new model would not be badged as a Yaris, but rather as a stand-alone model (much like the Prius) and will be based on an all-new Yaris platform.
Demand for hybrid models has surged recently in Japan thanks to government incentives for green cars. In April the Honda Insight was the best selling vehicle in Japan, marking the first time a hybrid has ever topped the monthly sales charts there. It was bumped off the top spot in May by another hybrid, the new Toyota Prius.