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Toyota substitutes diesel Auris for hybrid

Date: 01 June 2010

Toyota has dropped its 2.0-litre diesel model from its lower medium Auris line-up as it prepares to introduce a hybrid to the range.

The move follows increasing improvements in petrol engines that are beginning to render the diesel alternative redundant - particularly with an array of hybrid and electric vehicles coming to market.

Toyota fleet boss Mark Roden said: "Toyota has put a lot of research into hybrid technology.

"In the fleet market, we hope Auris HSD will establish itself as hybrid becomes more acceptable."

Toyota expects the HSD variant to account for around 40% of total Auris sales.

The car is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, which the manufacturer claims is comparable in power to a traditional 2.0-litre diesel.

Roden said fleet interest will come from driving the car: "Most of our marketing activity is giving fleets the opportunity to drive the car and see for themselves what it's capable of."

Auris is the first car in the Toyota range to get HSD, which will be available on up to 50% of the brand's model range by 2015.

The carmaker has hinted the next hybrid car will be "more accessible and cheaper", which suggests it might be the Yaris supermini.