Toyotacirculating that the company planned to 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.
The Yaris Hybrid is expected to retail for under $20,000 and be on sale in Japan as early as 2011. Currently, the most expensive conventional gasoline engine model tops out at $15,880. The 2009 Yaris is equipped with a four-cylinder 1.5-liter engine, and the four-speed automatic achieves 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The expected mileage of the hybrid was not announced.
This development is hot on the heels of Toyota's debut of their third-generation Prius, and not long after Honda issued a press release declaring the 2010 Honda Insight the cheapest hybrid on the Market. The newest model of the Insight went on sale yesterday, retailing at $19,800 to start, and achieves an EPA estimated 40/43 mpg.
Source: Cleantech Group