BUNASTON, England -- Toyota Motor Europe wants its new UK-made Auris hybrid to help it pass Fiat to takeover as Europe's low-CO2 champion.
“Toyota definitely wants to become Europe's greenest automaker,” Willy Tomboy, Toyota Motor Europe environmental affair director, told Automotive News Europe at a press event here to mark the production launch of the gasoline-electric Auris.
Toyota started making the hybrid compact car at its Burnaston factory on Monday. Deliveries start in July. The Japanese automaker aims to sell 14,000 Auris hybrids this year and more than double that volume to 30,000 a year starting in 2011.
The hybrid Auris, which will be sold alongside diesel- and gasoline-powered versions, is expected to account for a quarter of the model line's total sales in Europe, Toyota said.
The Auris hybrid's CO2 output is just 89 gram per kilometer, so if its sales are strong it could mean the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in the annual ranking of automakers' CO2 emissions.
Toyota closed the gap on Fiat in 2009 by cutting its average CO2 emissions to 130.1g/km from 144.9g/km in 2008. The Fiat brand remained No. 1 for the third year in a row by reducing its CO2 emissions by 5.9g/km to 127.8g/km in 2009.
First in Europe
The Auris is the second gasoline-electric hybrid in Toyota's European lineup, the Prius was the first, but the Auris is the first hybrid produced by Toyota in Europe specifically for Europe.
Toyota stated during the event here that the Auris is “the first full hybrid to be built in Europe.” Volkswagen AG disputes that claim. It told ANE that it began building the full-hybrid version of the Touareg large premium SUV at its plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, in mid-April. A car with a full hybrid system can be driven short distances by the electric motor alone.