Toyota Motor Corp. said it will build a small hybrid car in France. The company did not give the name of the hybrid it will produce at its plant in Valenciennes, northern France, but media reports have said it will be a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Yaris subcompact.
The small hybrid will be the second hybrid car built by Toyota in Europe after the Japanese automaker started production of the Auris hybrid compact hatchback in England last June.
Toyota said production of the small hybrid will start in 2012.
"This decision fits in Toyota's strategy to extend the full hybrid technology to an increasing number of models," the company said in a statement.
Since 2000, almost 300,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrid models have been sold in Europe and sales are climbing steadily, Toyota said.
Valenciennes has been the European production site for the Yaris since 2001. The factory has a production capacity of 270,000 vehicles a year.
The automaker will invest 53 million euros (about $71 million) to get the Valenciennes plant ready to make hybrids.
Toyota plans to launch several new hybrid models in Europe in the coming years. The company said it aims to have a hybrid version of all Toyota and Lexus models by the early 2020s.
Toyota rival Honda plans to unveil a hybrid version of its Jazz subcompact at the Paris auto show later this month.