Toyota is to increase European production of its Yaris model in order to meet demand for both combustion-only and hybrid models.
From June, the carmaker will start operating a third production shift at its factory in northern France, to increase volumes. That means that Toyota will also have to increase manpower by 500 production employees, bring total employment at the Valenciennes plant to more than 4,000.
The Yaris is unique in its class for offering hybrid power, which the brand hopes will bring the technology to a wider audience. It appears to be working too, as the carmaker plans to increase production by around 15 per cent to annual production of around 220,000 for 2014, to meet increasing orders.
Until the third shift is in place, some Saturday production is planned to meet the demand.
Refreshed in early 2013, the current generation Yaris was originally launched in 2011, with a following Hybrid version, which launched a year later. To produce a hybrid version of the supermini, Toyota had to reduce the size of its Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Combining an electric motor with a 1.5 litre engine, the HSD system is 20 per cent lighter than that used in Auris Hybrid, yet still delivers 99 bhp. Emissions are rated at 79g/km CO2 and fuel economy is rated at 80.7mpg, making it a class-leader for efficiency.
Toyota also offers a choice of 1.0 litre and 1.33 litre petrol engine models and a 1.4 D-4D diesel engine.
Available in the UK, the new Yaris is priced from £10,895 while the Yaris Hybrid costs from £15,495.
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