Toyota Motor Corp. said that it will build a small hybrid car in France. Toyota declined to provide the name of the hybrid that it will build at the plant in Valenciennes, northern France.
According to media reports, this car will be a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact. The small hybrid will be the second hybrid car that Toyota builds in Europe after the Auris hybrid compact hatchback, which started production last June in England.
Toyota announced that production of the small hybrid will begin in 2012. In a statement, Toyota said that this decision is in line with its strategy to extend the full hybrid technology to more models.
Toyota divulged that since 2000, sales have increased steadily and that in fact, nearly 300,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrid models have been sold in Europe. The Yaris has been produced in the Valencienne in Europe since 2001.
The factory has a production capacity of 270,000 vehicles annually. Toyota aims to invest 53 million euros (about $71 million) so that the Valenciennes plant will be prepared to make hybrids.
In the next several years, Toyota will work on its plan to launch several new hybrid models in Europe. Toyota aims that by the early 2020s, it will have a hybrid version of all Toyota and Lexus models. [via autonews - sub. required]