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Toyota released a new Yaris in Europe and its Vitz clone in Japan a few months ago, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would launch the new hatchback here in North America. And that time has come.

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Globally, the Toyota Yaris has bred more variants than we can shake a stick at. It's been known in different markets as the Vitz, the Platz, the Bella, the Vios and, to us, as the Echo. The first-generation model bred a small cargo van called the Yaris Verso – a mini minivan riding on the shortest wheelbase in its class - which was renamed the Verso-S for Europe and alternatively known as the Space Verso, the Ractis, the Ractis Verso and even the Subaru Trezia in certain markets. And now T

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Toyota first launched the Yaris in 1999, though that model was sold in the North America as the Echo. The second generation arrived in 2005, replaced by the third in 2011. Sometime next year, Toyota is expected to roll out a new Yaris for North America, to be built in Mexico on the same platform as the next Mazda2. But before that comes to pass, Toyota has introduced a mild facelift for the Yaris in markets other than ours.

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General Motors has confirmed to Autoblog that the Pontiac Vibe is included in Toyota's just-announced recall action. The Vibe and the Toyota Matrix share a large number of parts, including the affected cable to the airbag.

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UPDATE: The text below has been amended to include new details provided by Toyota.

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As basic transportation goes, there's not a lot to complain about with the Toyota Yaris. The five-door hatch (not to mention its JDM cousin, the Vitz) are due for upgrades, though, having toddled along in its current form since the 2011 model year. Now, we have what looks to be leaked images of the new Yaris, straight from a Japanese brochure.

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It looks like Toyota is going to have a little more zoom-zoom in the future. The giant Japanese automaker has struck a deal with Mazda to use its Skyactiv engines for the possible replacement to the Yaris. The new subcompact will be built under contract by Mazda at its new factory in Mexico.

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More fuel economy means more factory workers and more production for Toyota's most popular model in Europe. That simple equation explains why the Japanese automaker is boosting annual production of its gas- and hybrid-powered Yaris compact vehicles at its French factory. The new number will be about 222,000, a 15 percent increase. To do that, Toyota will need to add about 500 workers to bring its total there to more than 4,000, UK's The Green Car Website says. Vive le Toyota!

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Did you know that the Yaris is Toyota's best-selling vehicle in Europe? That may help explain to us Americans why the car that's lowest on the company's totem poll here in the US got turned into an all-wheel-drive hybrid track monster for the 2013 Frankfurt Monster Show.

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Toyota has been known to make some exciting cars over the years, but its hybrids, well... let's just say a Prius appeals to a different kind of buyer. The TS030 Hybrid LMP1, on the other hand, now that's more our speed. And at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, the Japanese industrial giant will bridge the gap with the concept car you see here. Previewed in bits and pieces along the way, Toyota has now revealed the full details and array of photos of its new Yaris Hybrid-R concept. And what the

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Toyota has undeniably carved out a niche for itself as the industry's leader in hybrid propulsion. What started out with the original Prius in 1997 has, over the past sixteen years, ballooned to what Toyota reports as a global hybrid portfolio of 23 models. But few (if any of them) are particularly exciting.

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Toyota was definitely on to something when they launched the Prius back in the late 1990's. This early bet on environmental responsibility paid off, as the Prius name has become synonymous with hybrid technology and eco-friendliness.

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Our tiniest Toyota (Scion iQ notwithstanding) is about to get a little French flair. The Japanese automaker announced Thursday that its Toyota Motor Manufacturing France facility would begin building Yaris models destined for North America – specifically, the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. This will mark the first time in history that Toyota has exported vehicles to North America from Europe.

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When gas prices rise, knee-jerk consumerism means that sales of small cars increase in lockstep, right? Well, sometimes – but that's not always the case. Ward's Auto reports that sales of subcompact car sales in America are off despite fuel prices pushing and holding at $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon across the country. According to the report, the "Lower Small" segment has seen a 2.6-percent sales decline since October, while fuel prices have been on the rise. Despite their comparatively thirsty

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A midsize sedan can offer better fuel economy as well as other benefits

A new study shows you don't have to sacrifice legroom for fuel economy.

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Mazda and Toyota have announced a partnership to produce a new vehicle for our market. Mazda will build a subcompact economy car for North America based on its own Mazda2 at its soon-to-be-finished facility in Mexico for sale under the Toyota banner. The plant will build around 50,000 units per year once production begins in during the summer of 2015, leaving a further 90,000-unit capacity for Mazda vehicles.

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