Attack of the small hybrids: Toyota Yaris hybrid to debut in Geneva
But is the Yaris hybrid coming to the US?
When it comes to urban transportation I’m a fan of small cars, and making small hybrids makes a ton of sense since urban transportation is full of congestion, streetlights and stop signs. Likewise, small hybrids mean smaller price tags and if battery-powered vehicles are ever going to truly mainstream, cheaper prices will be critical.
Thus, the upcoming launch of the Toyota Yaris hybrid at the Geneva Auto Show is an noteworthy debut, but one that also begs a number of interesting questions.
For instance, is the Yaris hybrid intended for the US market is question put forth by Kicking Tires this morning.
We know the Toyota Prius C, also a small hybrid, is headed to the US. Thus, is there room for two small Toyota hybrids right now? How will the pricing of these two hybrid cars compare?
But what interests me even more is demand for these new hybrids compared to the current Prius. Both the Yaris hybrid and the Prius C could easily come to market priced several thousand less than the Prius. In Japan, for instance, the cheaper Honda Fit hybrid has replaced the Prius as the best selling vehicle in Japan.
Can smaller hybrids outsell the Prius in the US?
My get says no, but it’s an iffy no. For instance, if gas prices can come close to $4.00 again, such hybrids might resonate a lot more as consumers start thinking about more than just fuel economy, but upfront costs as well. Likewise, today’s Gen Y appears to have little interest in paying a lot up front for new cars. Thus, many Gen Y’ers have indicated they would prefer to buy cheaper used cars.
Could small cheap hybrids with technologically-advanced cockpits – fully of Gen Y’ers favorite tools – resonate in this ever more important consumer segment? If pricing is right, I think they could.