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by Tim Beissmann

The Toyota Prius c Concept has made its debut at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne, and Toyota Australia has all but confirmed the compact hybrid will go on sale Down Under in the second half of 2012.

The Prius c Concept (‘c’ for ‘city’) is smallest member of the Japanese marque’s rapidly expanding hybrid family. A production version – tentatively known simply as the Toyota Prius c – is scheduled to go on sale in the US in the second quarter of 2012.

Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said a production version of the Prius c Concept would become the the brand’s entry-level hybrid vehicle in Australia.

“The Prius c Concept anticipates a city-friendly car aimed at young singles and couples who want a fuel-efficient car that is fun to drive and has an impressively spacious interior,” Mr Buttner said.

“It will be Toyota’s most affordable hybrid and we expect it to offer even better fuel economy and lower emissions than our flagship Prius.”

Although fuel economy figures are yet to be released, the Prius c is likely to use in the region of 3.5 litres/100km on the combined cycle when it hits showrooms.

The Toyota Prius c Concept shares its hybrid hardware and componentry with the standard Prius hatch, despite being a considerably smaller car.

At 3900mm long, the Prius c Concept is 560mm shorter than the current third-generation Prius and just 5mm longer than the all-new Toyota Yaris hatch, which was also unveiled at this year’s Melbourne Motor Show.