Toyota kicked off production of the Auris Hybrid in the UK just days ago. With units set to reach dealerships immediately, the Auris Hybrid joins the the beloved Prius as Toyota's only two hybrid products offered in Europe. With annual sales of the Auris Hybrid expected to exceed 30,000 a year by 2011, Toyota hopes that its recent addition of a second gasoline-electric hybrid to its European lineup will help push the company ahead of Europe's reigning emissions champ, Fiat.
Fiat has held the coveted title of Europe's cleanest, most fuel-efficient automaker for three years running. Fiat set the mark in 2009 by reducing its average CO2 emissions to just 127.8 grams per kilometer, but Toyota closed in on the number one spot by dropping its emissions down to 130.1 g/km. The Auris Hybrid emits just 89 g/km of CO2 and should help Toyota gain even more ground on Fiat, but a takeover of the top spot won't be easy. Fiat won't go down without a fight and it too has many more fuel-efficient products in the works that should lead to decreased emissions and help Fiat retain top honors.