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Toyota announces Corolla Hybrid

High voltage: The British Toyota Auris - a Corolla hatch by any other name - will get a hyrbid version next year.

Corolla Hybrid confirmed for the UK – and Toyota Australia says ‘never say never'

Toyota logo17 Jul 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

TOYOTA Motor Europe (TME) has announced that production of a full hybrid Corolla will start at its UK plant within 12 months.

Production of the Corolla Hybrid, which is expected to feature the same petrol-electric drivetrain employed by the closely-related new Prius, has not been confirmed for Japan, which produces Australia’s Corolla.

However, UK production of the hybrid Corolla, which is known in Europe as the Auris, all but confirms the petrol-electric Corolla will be one of the eight new hybrid models Toyota has committed to releasing in Australia within the next four years.

As we reported two weeks ago, this month’s MkIII Prius is the first of the eight promised hybrids, with others including next February’s Australian-made Camry Hybrid, hybrid versions of the Corolla, Kluger, RAV4 and yet-to-appear entry-level Lexus model, and eventual replacements for the Lexus GS450h and LS600hL.

Toyota spokesman Mike Breen told GoAuto that, despite the fact the UK factory will produce both left and right-hand drive versions of the Auris Hybrid, it was unlikely any versions would be exported to Australia.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota Camry Hybrid. Below: Toyota Prius.

However, he was less dismissive of the prospect that the Corolla Hybrid could also be built in Japan for Australian consumption, which would likely make it the next cab off Toyota’s rapidly expanding hybrid rank after the new Prius.

“I think there’s little chance we will see a hybrid Corolla from the UK,” he said, adding: “As far as Corolla Hybrid production in Japan is concerned, it’s far too soon to say.

“As the chief engineer said at the (Prius) launch, the Prius platform is shared with Corolla and RAV4 so, while there’s no plan for a hybrid Corolla in Australia at this point, you should never say never,” said Mr Breen.

The Auris Hybrid, which Toyota bills as its first European-built full hybrid, will be manufactured at Toyota Motor UK’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire from mid-2010, with engines supplied by TMUK's facility in Deeside, North Wales.

“With today’s announcement, Toyota has taken a significant step forward in ensuring that full hybrids become more accessible to a wider range of customers,” said TME president and CEO Tadashi Arashima yesterday (July 16), during a function attended by UK secretary of state for business Lord Mendelson. “Such efforts are crucial if we are to see more low-carbon vehicles on European roads.

“Our decision to produce a full hybrid in the UK reflects both our confidence in the quality and commitment of the TMUK workforce and the strength of our long-standing partnership with the UK government. Today’s announcement is positive for Toyota, our UK suppliers and the local communities here,” said Mr Arashima.

Like the Yaris, the Corolla/Auris is already available in the UK with a 1.3-litre engine fitted with idle-stop technology, which is claimed to reduce CO2 emissions by 17 per cent to 135g/km and fuel consumption by 19 per cent to 5.8L/100km, compared to the 1.4-litre model it replaced. Neither the Yaris 1.3 nor Corolla 1.3 Start&Stop models are scheduled for release in Australia.

The hybrid version, however, is likely to increase the Corolla’s efficiency to Prius levels (3.9L/100km and 89g/km), given the MkIII is the first Prius to share the Toyota global C-segment platform that also underpins the Corolla and RAV4.

As part of TME, TMUK became Toyota’s first manufacturing company in Europe in 1992 and has produced more than 2.5 million vehicles, including the Carina E, Corolla, Avensis and Auris, for both domestic and export sales. More than 370,000 examples of the current Auris/Corolla have been sold in Europe since 2007.

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