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by George Skentzos

Toyota is planning to produce a similarly low-cost rival for Honda’s currently much more affordable Insight hybrid sedan based on the Yaris platform.

The new generation Prius isn’t due to arrive in the US until May, although it is expected to be priced higher than the previous model which is already more expensive than the Honda Insight, causing Toyota to rethink its strategy.

Chief engineer of the new generation Toyota Prius, Akihiko Otsuka, said the top priority in developing the new Prius was to boost fuel efficiency, not reduce the price.

“We are developing a low-priced hybrid vehicle like Honda’s Insight,” Otsuka said. “We are going to compete by expanding our hybrid-vehicle lineup to smaller hybrids, in the class of the Vitz (sold in Japan) and Yaris.”

Otsuka confirmed that the new model would be cheaper than the Prius, but would not go so far as to say that it would also be more affordable than the Insight.

Although, it seems Toyota may already have an even lower price to beat with Honda currently developing a small hybrid vehicle based on the Jazz.

Otsuka wouldn’t mention when the Yaris-sized hybrid would be released, but it could arrive as early as 2011, according to Japan’s Nikkei business newspaper.

Toyota’s current hybrid strategy involves bringing the core technologies in-house, with the electric motor and inverter for the Prius currently are manufactured by Toyota.

Source: AutomotiveNews

  • http://skyline The Salesman’s got SOUL

    Carbon emissions trading will see a huge shift to more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars winning favor of both fleet and private buyers. I understand now that Australian fleet company’s will only buy cars with a four star green rating or above, according to the Australian green vehicle guide only 20 makes available in Australia have achieved this rating. At the moment if you are a business with less than two million dollars turn around per year you are entitled to a 30% government rebate (before 30 June) on the purchase price, if the car rates higher than four stars. In addition to that government tax will soon be based on a cars co2 emissions.

  • Dlr1

    does this mean that Toyota will finally have a Yaris with good fuel economy?

  • Lukaas

    Nice jab Dlr1.

    However, from my experience (Uni days). I drove my mum\’s Echo 120km a day, 5 days a week. 65% highway 35% suburban, in 1 tank. No kidding.
    I thought it was \”normal\” back then, I grew up driving small cars.

    Then I got to drive a bigger car (full 6 cyclinder) and driving that to work, 110km a day 5 days a week, 50% highway 50% suburban, I find myself going through more than 1.5 tank.

    Those were my daily drivers. Of course the odd turbo coupe is excused as fuel effiency takes a back seat to grunt.

    But my point, Yaris/Echo weren\’t the best in economy but they were more than good enough, especially for a Uni student who didnt have much spare change for fuel.

    And when Echo came out, their weren\’t really any other \”close\” option to it. In terms of good value and everything else.

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com Supercujo

    I dare Toyota to make it a diesel…

  • Marcoz


  • Frontman

    But they wont bring them out here because they have spent to much time doing a number on our politicians to suddenly bring out a vehicle that uses fossil fuel only yet returns better economy and CO2 numbers than their precious Hybrids.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    KRudd made a great investment in Toyota Camry Hybrids. Now he has to buy them all too……

  • Frontman

    TSMD, I’m not going to get into a Toyobash typical thing here, but the simple fact is that Toyota diesel technology is not up to date with the European passenger market Diesel tech. Hence their push on Hybrid whilst everyone elase is returning better figures (both consumption & green) out of diesels. Check out Bluemotion and Econetic vehicles for starters, full range of vehicles with fantastic driveability and economy.

  • Golfschwein

    The Australian native dog returns. He better make sure his kennel doesn’t burn down while he’s popping his nose into places it shouldn’t be.

  • Captain Mainwaring

    So Toyota’s going to do a Yaris Hybrid in response to Honda’s new Insight. But hasn’t Honda already announced that a Jazz Hybrid is coming, to fit below the Insight in price?
    Is this a case of Toyota being caught out and having to make a response on the hoof?

  • Falcodore

    Yes you are right Captain, Honda are doing a Jazz hybrid.

    Just reading that Prius sales in the US are down 30.7% in a segment thats down 10%. Thats a big drop.

  • Frontman

    TSMD, Actually Ford has been given the award for the most economical hybrid SUV available in the states, and the ’10 Fusion hybrid (roughly the size of a Camry Hybrid) is returning similar milage to the Gen 2 Prius in the hands of motoring editors all over the states at present. It’s just that Ford are also a leader in the Euro Diesel (having antee’d up the largest amount of research dollars in the tricompany diesel) and are also right up there in Hydrogen powered vehicles as well. But hey they’re American so don’t rate a mention I suppose?

  • jeikz

    Honestly the Yaris has excellent fuel economy as a Yaris owner I routinely get 700kms + out of the tank on highway/city driving imagine how far a hybrid would take you!

  • Twilight

    i love the economy of my Toyota Starlet =]

    everyone just buy one of them! lol

    590km on a 35L petrol tank (with 98RON fuel and mostly suburban driving)

    however, severe lack of power from the 1.3, even in a manual with the better fuel…

  • http://meancleantech.com MeanTech

    I think hybrids are great but really some car manufacturers are just putting in a small electric engine that does nothing and the car really runs off gas but they call it hybrid for marketing reasons then it just won’t work. I know a few people who bought Prius’s and they weren’t as excited about them a month later as they were before the purchased.

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com Supercujo

    MeanTech, that is why if GM can bring the Volt to market within the next 5 years at an affordable price, it will change the whole game. The Prius hybrid set up is seriously flawed if you want to reduce emissions to zero. It just can’t be done.

    The Volt has enormous potential if GM don’t go belly up before releasing it.

  • Dan

    Supercujo said – “MeanTech, that is why if GM can bring the Volt to market within the next 5 years at an affordable price, it will change the whole game. The Prius hybrid set up is seriously flawed if you want to reduce emissions to zero. It just can’t be done.”

    How will it change the whole game? The volt will still be responsible for lots of emissions. Only a fool will think of the volt as a greener car than a hybrid.