Toyota Prius C Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
Toyota's Prius V may be the latest production-ready addition to the Japanese automaker's hybrid lineup, but it's the Prius C concept, a gas-electric vehicle which made its worldwide debut at the Detroit Auto Show, that should become the most fuel-efficient conventional hybrid available in the U.S. when it launches in 2012. Furthermore, Toyota promises that the production Prius C will be the most "value-oriented hybrid" available in the States.
However, Autocar reports that the surging valaue of the Japanese yen will almost certainly "keep a production version of Toyota's near-80 miles per gallon hybrid supermini, based on the Prius C Concept hatch, out of Europe." Autocar points out that vehicles such as the hybrid Auris and upcoming Yaris gas-electric are built in Europe and thus aren't subject to fluctuations in the value of the yen. However, the Prius C will presumably be built in Japan, making it difficult enough for Toyota to profit from selling the compact hybrid in the U.S., and all but impossible for the automaker to haul in earnings by launching it in Europe.