Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R concept – is a hot hatch hybrid the way forward?

Story via Toyota has disclosed full details for its IAA-bound Yaris Hybrid-R concept scheduled to get its public outing at the 2013 Frankfurt car show.

Looks pretty cool to me, and hot hatch hybrids might prove to be a clever approach to the market, and a welcome change to the “sensible/low running cost/environmental” approach.

VW had huge success in the 70s and 80s selling masses of their sensible family hatchback (the Golf) on the back of the less-than-sensible hot hatch GTI version. The hot hatch success provided the foundations to make VW the giant they are today, and was widely copied by other manufacturers.

The Type-R brand has been successful for Honda in recent years and they have helped to re-invigorate the hot-hatch market – perhaps Toyota are planning the same thing?

Outside of the US and Japan Toyota are not a manufacturer that the public would immediately think “motorsport” or “high performance cars” or “hot hatches” – at least not in recent years: They have had few serious attempts with hot hatches lately and have produced very few production performance cars of any note since the mighty Supra. That said; they do race cars, they have a rich racing history and they do invest in motorsport as a means of developing technology, and in-particular hybrid drive in F1 and Le-Mans – perhaps this concept vehicle is a statement of intent?

For now it’s just a concept, but here’s hoping that high-performance is a serious ambition for hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers, especially the big-guys, because it works, as does motorsport: “race on Sunday, sell on Monday…”

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