TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. plans to launch a hybrid vehicle that is cheaper and more fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius as early as 2011, a Japanese newspaper reported today.
The vehicle would be priced around 1.5 million yen ($15,650) and deliver 94 mpg, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said, without revealing how it got the information.
The car will share key parts with Toyotas Yaris and will get double the fuel economy of the Yaris, the report said. It will be sold in the United States, Japan and Europe.
Toyota spokeswoman Yoshie Matsuura said she could not discuss future product plans. But Toyota is known to be planning a small, inexpensive Yaris-based hybrid to compete with Honda Motor Co.s plans for a hybrid version of the Fit.
The Honda Insight starts at $19,800 in the United States, and the Prius starts at $21,000.The current Prius gets about 89 mpg, under a Japanese mileage test that is not comparable to U.S. or European tests.