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Daihatsu didn't exactly set the world aflame, last week, when it announced it would draw on parent Toyota's technology to build a hybrid version of its commerically oriented minivan in Japan, particularly as its plan calls for selling a mere 300 per year. But news that the company will bring two concept vehicles to the Frankfurt show β€” a hybrid sports car and a compact SUV β€” may offer it a bit of profile redemption among publicity hounds.

The 4x4 SUV, dubbed D-Compact 4X4 is the company's vision of a small, nimble truckster, sporting a 1.5-liter buzzbox it says "supports nimble acceleration in all speed ranges and delivers the powerful driving performance you'd expect of an SUV." Such claims depend on one's perspective, presumably. The flashier prospect is its HVS, a lightweight sports car with a hybrid powertrain that combines the aforementioned 1.5-liter engine with a rear-mounted electric motor that drives the left and right wheels separately. The system, Daihatsu claims, boosts performance into the 2.0-liter range while offering the fuel economy of a one-liter, the separate-wheel drive system increasing stability during high-speed cornering. We assume Toyota plans to bring Daihatsu out from behind the curtain (following a halfhearted run at the US market), increasing its worldwide profile as its green/economy-minded brand. We'll have more from the show floor.

Toyota to Introduce Endo Concept in Frankfurt [internal]