Toyota has confirmed the rumours that the company will build a cheap, fuel-efficient hybrid to compete directly with the Honda Insight. The plans were announced in an interview given by Akihiko Otsuka, chief engineer for the 2010 Prius, to Japan's Nikkei newspaper.
(Credit: Toyota, CNET Australia)
According to reports, the Yaris Hybrid is expected to go on sale in the US and Japan by 2011. In the US it's expected to retail for just under US$20,000, the same price point as Honda Insight. If it does go on sale for around US$20,000, it would represent a 63 per cent premium on the base model and 25 per cent price hike on the top-of-the-range model.
The Yaris Hybrid has yet to be confirmed or denied for Australia. Using the above figures we could expect the Yaris Hybrid to be priced between AU$25,500 and AU$29,000 in Oz, although the yet-to-be-announced price of the Honda Insight is likely to be a more critical factor. So far no fuel economy figures have been bandied about, but we'd be surprised if it didn't better the base 1.3-litre's 6.1L/100km.
This development comes hot on the heels of the debut of Toyota's third-generation Prius and Honda's new Insight claiming the mantle of cheapest hybrid in the US.