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Toyota says it will build small hybrid car in France

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Toyota says it will build small hybrid car in France

Paul McVeigh

Automotive News Europe -- September 24, 2010 15:16 CET

Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it will build a small hybrid car in France. The company did not give the name of the hybrid it will produce at its plant in Valenciennes, northern France, but media reports have said it will be a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact.

The small hybrid will be the second hybrid car built by Toyota in Europe after the Japanese automaker started production of the Auris hybrid compact hatchback in England last June.

Toyota said production of the small hybrid will start in 2012.

"This decision fits in Toyota's strategy to extend the full hybrid technology to an increasing number of models," the company said in a statement.

Since 2000, almost 300,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrid models have been sold in Europe and sales are climbing steadily, Toyota said.

Valencienne has been the European production site for the Yaris since 2001. The factory has a production capacity of 270,000 vehicles a year.

The automaker will invest 53 million euros (about $71 million) to get the Valenciennes plant ready to make hybrids.

Toyota plans to launch several new hybrid models in Europe in the coming years. The company said it aims to have a hybrid version of all Toyota and Lexus models by the early 2020s.

Toyota rival Honda plans to unveil a hybrid version of its Jazz subcompact at the Paris auto show later this month.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100924/ANE/100929918/1193#ixzz10SfLIQdH

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By Drew Johnson

Toyota has announced it will begin production of a small hybrid model at its Valenciennes, France factory in 2012. Toyota Motor Manufacturing France failed to specify if the hybrid would be an existing model or an all-new vehicle.

“We are extremely proud of this decision, which reinforces TMMF’s position in Toyota’s European manufacturing operations”, Makoto Sano, TMMF President commented. “We express our warm gratitude to the authorities for the help they provided in the context of this project.”

The announcement marks Toyota’s second European-made hybrid model. Toyota began production of its Auris Hybrid in the United Kingdom last June.

Although Toyota failed to reveal what hybrid model will be built in France, all signs seem to point to a hybrid version of the company’s Yaris model. TMMF currently build the Yaris, and an all-new model is expected in 2012. Previous reports have suggested that Toyota is working on a hybrid version of its Yaris to compete with Honda’s upcoming Fit hybrid.



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