Toyota's European Anti-Diesel Strategy Expands: Yaris Hybrid Coming In 2012

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
toyota s european anti diesel strategy expands yaris hybrid coming in 2012

Toyota has essentially confirmed that a hybrid Yaris will be built at its Valenciennes, France plant beginning in 2012, coinciding with the next generation. Autocar, which also has a gallery of 2012 Yaris spy shots here, points out that Toyota did not name the new hybrid as a Yaris specifically, but that is the where the Yaris is made, and it fits in with with Toyota’s strategy to expand its hybrid line. In this case, it expands it downwards, in a market segment particularly important in Europe and Japan (pretty much everywhere except the US, actually). It also marks the second Toyota car for Europe to be hybridized without a unique exterior, like the Prius and LH 250 here. Toyota already sells an Auris hybrid in Europe, its Golf-fighter, along with the Prius. The big question: will the littlest hybrid find its way stateside?

The Yaris hybrid will also go head-to-head with Honda’s Fit hybrid, which will specifically not be coming to the US. And the current high value of the yen makes importation of the Yaris problematic. But if Toyota switches to US production, and if oil prices continue upwards, it would seem likely. Unless, of course, it would threaten the Prius’ halo as Toyota’s highest mpg car.

Toyota’s European hybrid strategy seemed iffy a couple of years ago, but the indications are that diesel prices will be pushed upwards to parity with gasoline. That would give Toyota a further leg up on the economics against the popular diesels. Diesel market share has already dropped a bit in the past couple of years, and a phasing out of diesel’s tax-favored status will only accelerate the trend. And of course, the Europeans are all developing hybrids too. Are we seeing a major transition in the making?

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  • L'avventura L'avventura on Sep 24, 2010

    " It also marks the second Toyota car for Europe to be hybridized without a unique exterior, like the Prius and LH 250 here." I think you mean the HS250h. Toyota also plan on releasing the Ch200h and Auris hybrid in Europe as well. Auris hybrid may come to market earlier then the Yaris, and the Corolla is also due for an update in the next-year and is rumored to get a hybrid option as well. Either way, the current 1.4D Yaris gets around 60 mpg combined, and diesel is cheaper then petrol in most of Europe. The real question is what prime-premium this hybrid will have over the diesel. For an economy car that is in a price-sensitive market segment this will be crucial.

  • Redmondjp Redmondjp on Sep 24, 2010

    I don't understand the anti-diesel sentiment expressed above, and some of it is flat wrong. If anything, diesel engines are SIMPLER than their gasoline counterparts, for the one fact alone that there is no ignition system. A modern direct-injected, turbocharged diesel engine is directly comparable in complexity to a modern, direct-injected, turbocharged gasoline engine (ecoboost). And any way you slice it, the diesel is going to come out on top as far as fuel economy goes, due to the higher energy content per gallon of fuel vs. gasoline. Where diesel technology is more complex is in the emission treatment required due to the soot that gasoline engines don't produce, I'll grant that. But as our modern heavy-truck engines in use today have proven (not to mention the highly advanced passenger-car diesels in Europe), these challenges can and have been met. I really do suspect that there are powerful forces at work in our country doing everything they can to keep these modern diesel cars off American roads in high numbers. And one very effective way to do so is to continue promulgating the anti-diesel sentiment. If half of the passenger cars & light trucks in America were diesel-powered today, imagine how many less millions of barrels of oil we would be using (and how many less tons of CO2 emitted to boot)! Something stinks alright, and it isn't that TDI in front of me!

  • Amca Amca on Sep 24, 2010

    I can think of nothing more dispiriting than owning a Toyota hybrid. Ick.

  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Sep 24, 2010

    I utterly oppose diesels for one main reason: They sound like sh*t. A car shouldn't sound like a looped recording of an old guy wheezing. Diesel sound is for F350 Super Duties, Peterbilts, and school buses. I spent a week in Spain over the summer, and my God - if I never see another TDI logo, it'll be too soon. It's a whole damn country full of cars making noise to freeze the soul. I'd see gorgeous Mercs and BMWs come rolling up to a stop light... going "CHRELCHRELCHRELCHRELCHREL"... It was awful. Seeing a beautiful car and then hearing its diesel engine is like having Megan Fox come up to you and offer you her phone number - in Barry White's voice. My God do justice and strike the diesel down.

    • Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove on Sep 25, 2010

      LOL. But are you implying that Megan Fox sounds any better? One of the things that I really have a hard time getting used in NA is the totally messed up unisex voices of men and women alike.