Toyota Motor Corp.’s production of a hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact is expected to begin at its factory in France in the business year starting next April, according to a report from the Mid-Japan Economist newspaper. Sources say that the gasoline-electric Yaris, named Vitz in Japan, will be sold in Europe.
A Toyota spokeswoman declined to comment on future product plans. A year ago, there was a similar report from France's La Tribune newspaper about Toyota's plans to produce a small hybrid car at its Valenciennes factory, which makes the Yaris subcompact.
Back then, a spokesman denied the existence of such a plan. Selling hybrid cars in Europe is difficult as the preferred method to lessen carbon dioxide emissions is to patronize diesel engines.
Toyota said that by 2020, it plans to add the hybrid option across its entire lineup.
However, Toyota has not revealed plans for a gasoline-electric Yaris/Vitz. Meanwhile, rival Honda Motor Co. is scheduled to launch a hybrid version of subcompact Jazz/Fit in the next several months.
The Honda Jazz hybrid will be unveiled at the Paris motor show at the end of this month. [via autonews - sub. required]