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Detroit Preview: Secret Toyota Hybrid Concept A Subcompact

Smaller-Prius expected to go on sale in 2012

 |  Dec 27 2009, 2:39 PM

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Toyota has said it will unveil a new hybrid concept car at the Detroit Auto Show, and according to recent reports it will be a subcompact and will go on sale in 2012. Two teaser photos of the car most certainly show a small car and now the Detroit News is reporting that as a subcompact it will slot in underneath the Prius in Toyota’s lineup.

The car will debut in concept form on January 11th at the Detroit Auto Show but has already been given the green light for production, with sales beginning in early 2012 in North America.

There is a possibility that this new subcompact hybrid will use the Prius name, as it already has a strong following and has become the most recognizable name in hybrids.

Toyota’s current subcompact is the Yaris, but it is not known if this new model will use the same basic architecture. It will, however, most certainly undercut the Honda Insight and is likely to get better fuel economy that the Honda hybrid. (Honda is expected to deliver a hybrid subcompact in the near future as well). Some reports have suggested it could use more powerful lithium-ion batteries, but we have to think Toyota will first debut that technology on the Prius plug-in hybrid.

In addition to this news, the Detroit News is reporting that a premium Lexus hybrid hatchback, based on the LF-Ch concept, is being fast tracked to market. It is expected to be called the CT200h.

GALLERY: Toyota Hybrid Concept

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[Source: The Detroit News]