Toyota to Sell a Yaris-Based Hybrid for Around $15.7k in Late 2011
Where Will it be Sold? Japan: Yes. Europe: Probably. North-America: Maybe.
The Asahi also reports that "Toyota may produce the new hybrid not only in Japan but also in France for sale in Europe."
This makes sense, as Japan has seen hybrid sales go up quite a bit recently (passing the U.S. to become the world's biggest market for hybrid cars), partly because of government incentives; Both the Honda Insight hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid (3rd gen) have held the #1 spot for sales in Japan in recent months (the Insight in February and the Prius in May). As for Europe, it has high fuel taxes and small cars are popular (though more diesels than hybrids).
The real question is: Will Toyota bring the Yaris-based hybrid to North-America? I think that it eventually will, as Toyota has said that it plans to offer hybrid versions of all its models. But how fast that happens will probably depend on oil prices. If the recession ends in the next year and high demand pushes the barrel of crude back over $100 (maybe even $200), Americans will probably be looking at MPG numbers very closely.
A small hybrid that gets better MPG than the Prius and costs significantly less could be a big hit. And if Toyota really wants to do something cool, it would offer a diesel-hybrid option for couple grands extra...
Sedan or Hatchback? Or Both?
Something to consider: The Yaris is available in both sedan and hatchback models. Most people, when they think of the Yaris, probably think of the hatch, but we don't know yet which of the two versions the Yaris-based hybrid will use as template.
Maybe a hatch hybrid will be offered in Japan and Europe (where that type of car is more popular) and a sedan will be offered in North-America? Or maybe the new Toyota compact hybrid will be available in both configurations.
More Toyota Yaris
Toyota to Make Yaris Hybrid to Compete with Low-Cost Honda Insight
84.66 MPG: Toyota Yaris Diesel Wins 2008 ALD Fleet World MPG Marathon
2007 Toyota Yaris - Sedan and Hatchback
More Hybrid Cars
The 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid Got a Bladderectomy
GM Gas-Electric Hybrid Car Ad From... 1969!