The Toyota Plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, is now making the new Auris hybrid, the first full-hybrid vehicle to be built in Europe, although some citizens of the UK might reject the “European” characterization.
Sales of 30,000 are targeted for the first year, with customer deliveries starting this July. Eventually, Auris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) will be sold in 32 countries.
The Auris, not on sale in North America, comes in 3- and 5-door hatchback models derived from the Corolla platform. The hybrid will start it sales life as a 5-door hatch. (See Toyota Auris HSD Concept Appears at Frankfurt)
The design of Auris HSD has evolved from the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Prius was launched in Japan in 1997 and in Europe and North America in 2000. Prius is now in its third generation. Auris is very close in size and performance to the Prius, creating a potential marketing problem. I assume Toyota will offer the Auris for fewer Euros, and keep the Prius the premium nameplate.
Prius, of course, much to the astonishment of the European and American automotive establishments was a major technological breakthrough – providing huge fuel economy benefits, as well as a “Green” marketing triumph for Toyota.
Toyota plans to introduce full hybrid drive technology across the company’s entire model range by the early 2020s.
“It is a proud day for Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK as we celebrate the official start of production of the Auris with Hybrid Synergy Drive, yet another premium quality model to be Built in Britain,” said Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of TMUK.