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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota expects the all-new Prius C light car to become the cheapest hybrid in Australia when it launches in late March.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor says the Yaris-sized Prius C will be “thousands of dollars” cheaper than $29,990 – the current price of the Honda Insight.

Toyota insiders have suggested to CarAdvice the Prius C could be priced around $25,000 before on-road costs, potentially making it up to $10,000 cheaper than the larger conventional Prius hatch, which starts at $34,990.

With no other entry-level hybrids on the horizon, only a dramatic price reduction from Honda Australia would rob the Prius C of the ‘most affordable hybrid’ title, although this is highly unlikely.

Callachor says supply of the Prius C will be tight throughout 2012 due to the popularity of the manufacturer’s newest and smallest hybrid in Japan, where Toyota currently holds orders for more than 120,000 vehicles.

Toyota Australia spokesman Mike Breen said he believes the local arm could deliver more than 1000 Prius C vehicles to local customers this year if there was the demand.

Breen said vehicle supply should free up in 2013 as Japanese and international order volumes normalise.

The Prius C produces up to 74kW from its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor powertrain. With an urban fuel consumption of 3.7 litres per 100km, it will be Australia’s most fuel-efficient combustion-engined car in city conditions, although its overall combined rating is not expected to improve significantly – if at all – over the regular Prius’s 3.9L/100km rating.

The 4.0m-long Toyota Prius C will join the conventional Prius hatch on the market, and the hybrid family will be bolstered further in the second quarter of the year with the arrival of the seven-seat Prius V.




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