PARIS – Toyota Motor Corp. is banking on its Auris Space Concept to prove gold as the next Corolla hatchback for Europe.

While a concept, the Auris is “a concrete perspective for the next-generation Toyota C-segment hatchback for Europe,” Thierry Dombreval, executive vice president-Toyota Motor Europe, says at the auto show here.

The name, pronounced “a-oris”, is derived from “Aurum,” the Latin word for gold, and is intended to be a synonym for value as well as durability, Dombreval says. He confirms Auris will be the new name for the future hatchback in Europe, while the Corolla name will continue for other models of the C-segment lineup.

Developed by the Toyota European Design team at a center in Nice, France, the Auris was designed to provide a spacious interior (including an open under section and panoramic glass roof) with a sculpted bridged console.

Also on display here is the new Yaris TS sports hatchback with an all-new 1.8L Dual VVT-I engine capable of 132 hp and a lowered suspension, tuned for a sporty ride. The subcompact will be available with 3- and 5-door body styles when it goes on sale in early 2007.

A new range of diesel engines is among the enhancements to the Toyota Hilux, including a high-torque 3L D-4D diesel to compete in the growing luxury pickup segment. The current 2.5L D-4D diesel has been upgraded to produce 120 hp.

The flagship Avensis gets an interior upgrade and new 2L D-4D 125-hp diesel.

Dombreval says Toyota is heading for its 10th consecutive sales record in Europe, “on track to exceed our objective of over 1 million Toyota vehicles sold in a single year. Now, our new challenge is to reach 1.2 million sales by 2008 for Toyota and Lexus brands combined, two years ahead of our original plan.”

apriddle@wardsauto.com