is reportedly preparing to produce a hybrid
version of its Auris for the European market at its plant in the UK. If it happens, production is intended in to start in about 2012. The Auris is a compact hatchback that is related to the Corolla
. The new Lexus
HS250h shares some under-structure and suspension componentry with the Auris. It's not known which hybrid powertrain would be used for the Auris, but for the European market it is likely to be a variant of the new 1.8-liter engine and hybrid synergy drive used in the new Prius
Over the last several years, Toyota officials have repeatedly said that by the end of the next decade they expect almost every vehicle line they build to be available with a hybrid system. If the Auris hybrid is produced in the UK, it would be the first Toyota hybrid produced in Europe.