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Toyota Yaris  (Source:

Will also fight Honda Fit hybrid when available in 2011

Chief Engineer Akihito Otsuka of Toyota confirmed to the Japanese Nikkei newspaper that the company is developing a new, lower-cost hybrid-electric version of the Yaris. It will compete against Honda's Insight hybrid which has just gone on sale, as well as the Honda Fit hybrid which is due in 2012.

The Toyota Yaris currently achieves 29 MPG in the city and 35 MPG highway, according to the revised EPA estimates.  It became a hit at first due to high gas prices, but now enjoys strong sales mostly due to its value and affordability.

The current generation Toyota Yaris is due for a redesign in 2011, and the hybrid is expected to launch in that timeframe. In Japan, the Yaris hatchback is known as the Vitz, while the sedan is known as the Belta. The Yaris hybrid will most likely be based on the Belta sedan, due to space constraints.

It will utilize a smaller version of the third generation Hybrid Synergy Drive derived from the new third generation Prius. It will also use lithium-ion batteries in order to conserve weight and size.

Toyota owns sixty percent of Panasonic EV Energy, in a joint venture with the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company. It is building two new factories in order to bring annual output capacity to one million batteries. Although currently producing nickel-metal hydride batteries, it will start lithium-ion battery production this year. Toyota's former President Katsuaki Watanabe stated last year that mass production of lithium-ion batteries would start in 2010.

Toyota will continue to sell the six-year-old, second generation version of the Prius in Japan. Although released in 2004, it will serve as a lower cost hybrid option from Toyota to temporarily fight the Honda Insight until the Yaris hybrid is available.

The Yaris hybrid could be produced at Toyota's new Prius factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi.

Despite the low cost of the Insight, the Prius remains popular as it is still the most fuel-efficient car in mass production for the U.S. market.

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Another tiny hybrid.
By TennesseeTony on 3/30/2009 9:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
It is truly sad 1.) that Americans (often) want the biggest car/truck available, not need, but want; 2.) that the automakers continue to NOT pursue hybrid large vehicles. Yeah, sure, we've got a semi-hybrid GMC truck, and Caddy SUV. Small cars already have decent fuel consumption rates. These larger vehicles are the ones that need to be addressed, as they are by far the ones that will see the most improvement.

Don't flame me yet, I need to find a gene bank and swap to my fire retardant Plasmids. Okay, I'm ready.

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By FITCamaro on 3/31/2009 7:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
Damn people for buying what they want with their money. Evil bastards!

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By Spuke on 3/31/2009 3:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
You only buy small cars and that's cool. But can we stop with the "you are evil if you're not doing what I do" stuff? It's REALLY getting old and, quite frankly, people do what they want regardless.

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By FITCamaro on 3/31/2009 4:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
Think you meant to respond to him....

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By Spuke on 3/31/2009 5:23:59 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah I did. Sorry about that.

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By Trippytiger on 3/31/2009 10:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
A great deal of hybrid vehicle technology has been put in place in larger vehicles, though. Prius, Camry, Accord, Escape, all of the Lexus hybrids - they are not small vehicles! And they're the type of vehicle that hybrid technology almost makes sense in, because they suit the needs of people who want reasonably large cars while delivering better fuel economy than other similarly sized vehicles.

I do agree that it would be good to see more hybrid tech in trucks and SUVs where the benefits should be even greater, but it's certainly not accurate to say that only small cars get the hybrid treatment.

RE: Another tiny hybrid.
By matt0401 on 4/8/2009 11:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I tend to prefer the foreign auto makers (I think their styling is MUCH better) I don't think people give companies like GM and Ford enough credit when it comes to green tech.

Toyota's flagship hybrid product is a mid-size car. Let's assuming their hybrid tech reduces fuel consumption by 50%. GM and Ford decided to implement their hybrid tech mainly in larger vehicles. Ford went with the SUV (Escape) and GM mainly does fleets of hybrid buses. Even if we assume that they're behind on hybrid tech, assuming maybe only 25% fuel savings, this still results in more fuel being saved due to the vehicles having initially higher fuel consumptions. Compact cars are already fuel efficient, we need to get the rest on par. A bus saving 25% of it's fuel beats a mid-size car saving 50% of its fuel by far . In this way, GM especially has done way more for green tech application than Toyota, Honda, etc.

By preslove on 3/30/2009 10:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see the hybrid market expanding. This might be the hybrid I end up buying, depending on the price. The Insight is a little too expensive, considering its minimal improvements in fuel efficiency. I'm sure the Yaris will have much, much better fuel economy, since it already is so good.

RE: Competition=good
By lagomorpha on 3/30/2009 3:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
What's wrong with the current non-hybrid Yaris? At 32mpg even if the hybrid got infinite miles to the gallon you'd likely never make back the extra cost and extra maintenance expense.

RE: Competition=good
By kilkennycat on 3/30/2009 11:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
That's odd. My 2007 standard 5-speed manual-transmission Yaris sedan gets a (measured) 31-32mpg (US) tooling around city shopping, traffic lights etc, etc. and (measured) 41-42mpg (US) driving I-5 up and down the West Coast US at the posted speed limits (55 - 70mph) without any economy "tricks" whatsover and with a/c or heater on, as appropriate. The EPA guys must have transferred their leaden feet from SUVs when they came up with the latest MPG figures for the Yaris. Or maybe they have no idea how to effectively use a manual gearbox with a small-capacity, narrow torque-range engine. Automatic is not recommended for this type of vehicle if you want to get good mileage - you need to anticipate gear-changes much sooner than any current automatic technology can provide. Regardless of any such finesse, and aware that the EPA standards were tightened for 2008 onwards, I still cannot understand how they came up with those ridiculous new figures for the Yaris....

RE: Competition=good
By lagomorpha on 3/31/2009 8:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yes the new EPA estimates are very pessimistic especially for smaller vehicles, but so long as they are in theory the same across all vehicles at least we have some system with which to compare same to same.

Exactly how does this correlate?
By marvdmartian on 3/30/2009 12:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
Despite the low cost of the Insight, the Prius remains the most fuel-efficient car in mass production for the U.S. market.

Exactly how does the lower cost of the Insight correlate in any way with the higher fuel efficiency of the Prius???

RE: Exactly how does this correlate?
By Suntan on 3/30/2009 12:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
Total cost of operation.

Some people that are not inflicted with a blind hard-on for everything Enviro-Chic care less about the snob appeal of a Prius and more about what it means to their pocketbook.


RE: Exactly how does this correlate?
By dwcal on 3/30/2009 6:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
Honda's hybrid drivetrain (IMA) is simpler and cheaper than Toyota's (HSD), but the electric motor is less powerful and can't run the car on electric power alone. The 2010 Prius is larger and more powerful than the Insight, but still gets better mileage.

By CalWorthing on 3/30/2009 10:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
Visit Ford UK ( & study the Fiesta Econetic specs. $17,750 and about 70 MPG. Diesel running cleaner than most ICE. This has been going on for years. "This" being the mfg & sales in Europe of more advanced/efficient/affordable autos by US makers. It's almost as though there was a cooperative effort 'tween makers and oil cos. in teh US to keep the teat busy.

RE: Mileage
By FITCamaro on 3/31/2009 7:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
Problem is it won't meet it our emissions standards. I agree it should be allowed here provided people would buy them.

Then as I said elsewhere, we have to produce enough diesel which our government has no interest in. No they want electric. All other, potentially cleaner(whats "greener" than diesel produced by plants?), possibilities be damned.

As I've stated, I have no issues with diesel. Hell I'd be fine with a twin turbo diesel V6 Camaro if it means the nameplate lives on. Horsepower is horsepower. And I'd love to have 500+ lb ft of torque at 1000 rpm. Would definitely make launching a car at the drag strip more challenging.

Honestly if things keep going the way they are, in a few years I might see about swapping a diesel truck motor into the GTO. You can make anything fit. ;)

By Moishe on 3/30/2009 10:39:19 AM , Rating: 2
Though I dislike the way the little car looks, this competition on price will be good for the consumer in the long run.

Also good to see that they're moving toward lithium ion.

I don't quite get it...
By clovell on 3/30/2009 12:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
I've always thought that Series Hybrids would be cheaper to manufacture and maintain than Parallel Hybrids. I suppose Honda and Toyota are just trying to squeeze as much out fo their existing technology as they can, but I think it will end up setting them back a bit in the long run.

By KeepSix on 4/15/2009 12:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Drag Coefficients:

Mercedes C class coupe=.24

No Hatchback...
By Suomynona on 3/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: No Hatchback...
By Hoeser on 3/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: No Hatchback...
By Suntan on 3/30/2009 12:56:22 PM , Rating: 1
Do youreally think its possible to make it look worse? I'd put my money on the idea that *any* change to the Yaris would make it look better.


RE: No Hatchback...
By Spuke on 3/30/2009 1:00:21 PM , Rating: 4
The Yaris is offered in a hatch.

RE: No Hatchback...
By Smartless on 3/30/2009 3:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
ugly SMUGly... Could be worse.

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