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Toyota Yaris hybrid, diesel not on Oz agenda

Not coming: Toyota's Yaris Hybrid, previewed by this HSD concept, is primarily designed for European markets.

Prius C remains Toyota Australia’s compact hybrid priority over eco Yaris variants

Toyota logo26 Oct 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TOYOTA has confirmed it will not import the Yaris Hybrid to Australia for the foreseeable future, preferring instead to concentrate on the related Prius C – or ‘Aqua’ as it is known in Japan – city-sized petrol-electric hybrid.

Due in the second quarter of 2012, the Prius C will slot beneath the established ‘full-sized’ Prius, which is also set to receive a facelift at the same time.

As GoAuto has reported, the Prius+ and related Prius V wagon variants are also under consideration for release in Australia next year.

The Yaris Hybrid, meanwhile, is due to launch in Europe soon, following its debut as the near-production Yaris HSD concept at the Geneva motor show in March.

Toyota Australia’s decision to overlook the Yaris Hybrid comes despite its sub-85g/km CO2 emissions rating, which would make the B-segment hatch the best in its field right now, beating the new standard-setting Kia Rio 1.1-litre three-cylinder turbo-diesel in Europe.

According to Yaris chief engineer Hirofumi Yamamoto, who was responsible for the new 130-series Yaris including the hybrid version, the petrol-electric Yaris is primarily a European model charged with helping reduce Toyota’s average corporate CO2 emissions.

A Toyota spokesman also told GoAuto at the new-generation Yaris launch in Melbourne this week that the company had “elected to focus on another smaller hybrid for Australia” – that is, the Prius C.

Full technical details are still to be divulged, but the Prius C is said to eclipse the 3.9L/100km performance of the standard Prius, while also bettering the Prius’ CO2 emissions rating of 89g/km.

 center imageFrom top: Toyota Prius C concept, Belta sedan, current Yaris sedan, new Yaris hatch.

Both the Yaris and Prius C hybrids share similar front-end structures, according to Mr Yamamoto, as well as various other drivetrain components in order to help keep costs down.

Furthermore, the European-market Yaris D-4D Diesel, available with a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and six-speed manual combination returning 104g/km of CO2, has been ruled out for Australia due to its lack of a suitable automatic gearbox.

Pointing to the tiny light-car diesel market in Australia, coupled with the relatively cheap fuel price situation, Toyota has elected to stick with the petrol-only Yaris for the time being.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Yaris sedan remains unclear, following Toyota’s confirmation that it will not develop a three-box version of the new XP130 series.

As GoAuto has reported, Toyota Australia is investigating a four-door Yaris replacement in the form of a number of models, including the Etios sedan currently built in India.

However, one insider also this week suggested that Toyota is working on a replacement for the current XP90-based Yaris sedan (or Belta, as it is known overseas), featuring the 130 architecture with unique sheetmetal and cabin configuration.

Launched here in 2006, the Yaris sedan – which continues alongside the redesigned hatch – attracts around 15 per cent of total Yaris volume in Australia.

A spokesman said that the company would jump at the chance to import a new Yaris sedan into Australia.

“Toyota would not willingly give up that percentage of a segment,” he said.

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