The first hybrid engine for Toyota’s new Auris HSD hybrid vehicle rolled off the production line at the manufacturer’s Deeside plant yesterday.
Toyota has branded the project as “eco minded people making eco-cars” and the Auris HSD will be the first mass produced hybrid vehicle in Europe. The ceremony was attended by major figures, including the Business Secretary Vince Cable, and marked the first time a hybrid engine has been built outside of Japan.
The Toyota Auris HSD can operate in electric modes at up to 30mph and has a driving range of up 2 miles, depending on the charge of the battery.
The Toyota Deeside plant will produce the hybrid engines, while the main car will be assembled at another plant in Burnaston. The Burnaston plant began production back in 1992 and is the company’s largest in Europe.
The new Auris HSD combines the use of a traditional petrol engine with an electric motor and Toyota have said they’re aiming to sell around 14,000 vehicles in 2010 alone. The Auris HSD is a 5 door mid-sized hatchback, which is smaller than Toyota’s already popular hybrid Prius.
“This is the first time that a Toyota hybrid engine has been made outside Japan and we take great pride in having that opportunity,” said Richard Kenworthy from Toyota Manufacturing UK.
Many believe Toyota’s decision to produce the car in the UK shows the manufacturer’s commitment to the country and cements the UK’s position as a key base for hybrid car production.
”Toyota’s decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars,” commented Business Secretary Vince Cable.
”It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you’re not in the UK, then you’re missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.”
The Auris HSD will be available for purchase from the 1st July and comes with a price tag of just over £18,000. The car will also be available for lease around that time but for a much smaller price tag.