In Push to Small Global Hybrids, Toyota Will Build Yaris Hybrid

In what could become the next chapter of the hybrid car saga, Toyota is planning to produce small, affordable high-mpg hybrids. The downsizing of hybrids, at first in Europe and Asia, could represent the technology’s shift to mainstream global markets where economies of scale would mean dramatic increases in hybrid production.

The Mid-Japan Economist newspaper today reported that Toyota plans to produce a hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact at its factory in France starting next April. This report follows at least a year’s worth of rumors about a small hybrid slated for production at Toyota’s Valenciennes factory.

Honda is the only other carmaker with concrete plans to produce small affordable hybrids. The Honda CR-Z coupe went on sale last month, and at next month’s Paris Motor Show the company will unveil the Honda Fit Hybrid, which could come to the United States in the next year or two.

Critics argue that hybrid systems do not make sense for small cars, which are already relatively efficient. But tougher environmental laws throughout the world will require lower emissions for cars of all sizes.

Hybrids on a Global Scale

Stories about another tiny Toyota hybrid in the works—a Scion iQ Hybrid—first emerged in January 2010. A year earlier, at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota introduced the FT-EV pure electric concept—which shares its platform with iQ. We reported last week that Toyota is working on a hybrid version of the Toyota Etios, a compact car for the Chinese and Indian markets. And in the United States, Toyota is scheduled next year to introduce the Lexus CT200h, a small sporty luxury hybrid.

According to R.L. Polk, global sales of hybrids through June of this year have reached 766,086 units—already surpassing last year’s total global production of 740,355. In other words, while hybrid sales have been flat in the United States, global hybrid production in 2010 will more than double last year’s volume. Further increases in hybrid production in Asia and Europe will likely occur with the introduction of small cars equipped with hybrid gas-electric drivetrains.

The increase in global hybrid production will help carmakers reach economies of scale, especially with hybrid batteries. If the cost comes down, then the technology could be applied—with little or no premium—to affordable models like the Toyota Yaris. The conventional Yaris is rated at 29 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. Fuel economy for the Yaris Hybrid, depending on its design, could exceed the Prius’s average of 50 mpg.


  • usbseawolf2000

    Soon… the meaning of “hybrid premium” will be known for the jet-smooth, quiet, efficient, reliable, easy to maintain and partial zero emission rather than the extra cost because there won’t be any.

  • simon@syd

    This is so overdue, not that its here yet.

  • Dan Clemons

    I will buy the first 200 mile on a charge plug in electric. We own a 2010 Prius and just love the car. It’s the best 4-door we have ever owned and we get 50 smiles to the gallon.

  • JamesDavis

    Whatever happened to converting over to clean energy vehicles? A hybrid, that is only a hybrid in name only, is not a clean energy vehicle. My Mustang is not a hybrid and I already get 34 MPG.

  • Anonymous

    Toyota … bring it to the US now – this could be the most fuel efficient car, I want it, I want it now.

  • sri

    JamesDavis, out of curiosity, what’s your definition of hybrid?

  • Yegor

    They do not sell too many small cars in US – small cars are not popular there.

  • Anonymous

    sri – just check out the other comments in other threads of JamesDavis – you can’t take that guy serious, he just likes to bash and complain (and his preference is to complain about american car manufactures, sometimes he is lucky and right, most of the time it is just dumb) … wish I could filter his comments out.

  • Anonymous

    Yegor – even Americans start to realize that they can’t keep driving the huge monster trucks with 10-15mpg … just wait until the fuel price goes up again and they will start dumping their stupid SUVs again … but many already realized that now is a good time for small cars, but there is only limited choice right now.

  • 9691

    @anonymous. I feel the same way about JamesDavis, and wish as well to have been able to filter his narrow minded stupidity out of this forum. What a contemptible stinker.

  • JamesDavis

    For you people who complain about me complaining about these pathetic crappy cars who the manufacturer claim is a hybrid…is this the only web page you read? A true hybrid is part electric and part fossil fuel. The electric part should give you as much or more than the fossil fuel part does so you will not be adding to the environmental pollution but deleting from it. The Lexus claims to be a hybrid, yet the electric part can only take you one mile at 25 MPH. Now what is the point of having an expensive piece of junk like that on your car? It is worthless and its only purpose is to inflate the price of the vehicle and make you think that you have something that you do not have. If a hybrid does not have equal efficiency, then it is not a hybrid. If Telsa Motors in California would start building hybrids, you would get a max of 350 MPC on the electric part and less MPG on the fossil fuel part. That is supposed to be the purpose of a true hybrid, to give you further on the electric part so you will not have to use as much or more fossil fuel. Read some of these other web pages on hybrids and electric cars that other countries are already achieving and you will ask yourself, “Why can’t American auto makers do this?” And you will probably start complaining about these crappy pieces of junk that the American auto makers are trying to shove down our throats just like I am.

    Only a fool would pay $40,000.00 for a hybrid that is more fossil fuel than electric. What is the purpose of adding an electric motor to a car that is worthless and cannot even get you past your neighbors drive way?

    Wake up people and stop believing what these lying American auto makers are saying…check out what other countries are doing and then tell these lying American auto makers to give us what other countries are giving their citizens…a clean energy efficient affordable vehicle.

  • usbseawolf2000

    If you get 34 MPG with Mustang, you will get 75 MPG with Prius.

    When you are crawling in a traffic jam, the ability to crawl through it with battery power charged by braking into the jam is sweet. Low speed driving is great for electric with a lot of torque. On the highway, using the gas engine makes more sense due to higher energy content of gasoline.

  • Anonymous

    Please … where is the JamesDavis filter ??? Can’t take his stupidity anymore.

  • Shines

    Anonymous – don’t bash JamesDavis – debate him. calling each other stupid does not generate meaningful debate…
    JamesDavis while I can understand your desire to see the perfect hybrid – it doesn’t yet exist. 95% of all car buyers buy conventional vehicles because of cost and reliability. The final 5% that buy hybrids know that they are helping the environment and saving fuel over the long run.
    A hybrid vehicles would be ANY vehicle that uses an electric (or non-ICE) motor to move the car forward. Your statement: “If a hybrid does not have equal efficiency, then it is not a hybrid.” is simply not true. where did you get that definition – just your personal opinion?
    There is no rule that says the electric motor must do more work than the gas engine.
    As far as your mustang getting 34 mpg – maybe on the highway following a semi. I know you’re not getting over 25 mpg in city stop and go traffic.
    As far as American car companies competing with foreign automakers and we not looking outside this site- why don’t you put a link to a site that is displaying some other hybrids than this site? What foreign vehicle or country are you talking about with this statement: “other countries are giving their citizens…a clean energy efficient affordable vehicle.”
    Otherwize quit making false statements about non existent sites or vehicles.

  • Akek

    A Yaris that gets 60-70mpg already exists. It’s in Europe…and it’s a diesel. Why can’t we get any good cars here in the States?

  • usbseawolf2000

    Europe’s gallon (look up Imperal gallon) is bigger than the US gallon. Their fuel economy test is unrealistic, boosting MPG. Europe has two emission standards for gas and Diesel. We have one standard and no exception rule for Diesel.

  • Anonymous

    About diesel, don’t forget that it emits approx 12% more CO2 per gallon, has huge NOx and particles emissions.

    I live in Europe.

    I replaced my diesel car by a Prius, and I cut my CO2 by 30% (calculated on real consumption figures)

  • ha

    jamesdavis has a point. i’m an avid supporter of hybrid technology, but the limitations the majority of production hybrids have right now, don’t really make up for extra $$ on the price tag.

  • sri

    Well, JamesDavis, I do browse other sites and what you are describing may fall in to the category of BEV, EREV or plug-in hybrid but I haven’t seen them being called simply hybrids anywhere.

    Now, there are certain kind of cars that were being called hybrid for more than a decade now. If you want a new classification, you should probably start with finding a new name for them and I have a feeling “crappy” is not going to be widely accepted.

    We can all dream about EVs and it may even be technically possible now. But if everybody said nothing better is acceptable till we get a dream EV at $20000, then we all will be driving mustangs and cameros till end of oil.

  • zelgrim

    clean energy efficient affordable vehicle. http://zelgrim.ru