Early last year, rumors about a low-cost hybrid model from Toyota circulated around for some time. The rumormill almost came to a halt when the Yaris was unofficially declared as the platform scheduled to receive Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. Then, additional reports surfaced suggesting that the low-cost hybrid would go on sale early next year and likely compete head-to-head with Honda's upcoming Fit hybrid. Earlier this month, yet another report surfaced reconfirming that Toyota would begin production of its Yaris-based hybrid at its factory in France next April. Toyota remained silent on the subject and held back any comments, but due to the countless reports that have surfaced, we suspected that a Yaris-based hybrid would certainly emerge at some point.
Now, Autocar reports that Toyota has confirmed plans to make a "small hybrid car" at its Valenciennes plant in France beginning in 2012. Toyota did not specifically mention the small hybrid car's name, but given the fact that the gasoline-powered Yaris is built there, coupled with countless reports suggesting that the Yaris would indeed become the foundation of Toyota's upcoming subcompact hybrid, the conclusion that Toyota will launch a hybrid version of the Yaris in 2012 seems all too obvious. It's unlikely that the Prius' 1.8-liter mill will fit into the Yaris, but Toyota does have smaller engines at its disposal. For now, it also seems unlikely that the Yaris hybrid will hit U.S. shores, but we've got our fingers crossed.