Toyota to Unveil New Concept Subcompact Hybrid at Auto Show
December 26, 2009
(ChattahBox) – With the Prius in high demand, Toyota is making plans to launch an all-new hybrid subcompact vehicle in late 2011. A concept version the all-new hybrid-only model for the budding subcompact segment will be unveiled on Jan. 11, the first day of the North American International Auto Show’s press preview. While the Prius has a starting price of $22,400, the subcompact, which will be built on the Yaris platform, will be sold for about $15,760. The new Toyota will compete with a rumored hybrid version of Honda’s Fit subcompact.
Prius accounts for more than 75 percent of Toyota’s hybrid sales worldwide, so Toyota hopes the new hybrid will help secure its dominant position in the future. Toyota plans to produce around 150,000 annually, and by adding another high-profile hybrid to Toyota’s lineup it will not only boost sales, but also increase the profitability of the automaker’s hybrid car business by reducing the per-vehicle cost of components. Some analysts are concerned Toyota might be committing itself too much to its hybrids, however, as all-electric cars may eventually become affordable and negate their appeal. “Toyota is completely convinced about the potential for hybrids spreading to all segments,” one auto analyst told The Detroit News: “That has yet to be proven. There aren’t many places in the world where hybrids have caught on.” Toyota though seems to be hedging their bet. Its battery venture with Japan’s Panasonic Corp. is not only boosting its production capacity of nickel-metal hydride batteries in its traditional hybrids, but also providing an avenue for a battery-powered pure electric car due out in 2012.