TOYOTA Motor Thailand Co Ltd (TMT), the country's largest auto producer, is hoping to boost sales of the new Yaris eco car by offering a sedan version.
The Japanese automaker, suffering from a lack of all-new models in its vast product line-up while rivals have been launching attractive new models, yesterday introduced the Yaris ATIV eco car, its first major all-new model this year.
The 1.2-litre Yaris hatchback has been the best-selling passenger car in Thailand for the past three years, thanks to its generous interior space and flashy design. The sedan is the second body style to be introduced.
Michinobu Sugata, managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp and president of TMT, said the new Yaris sedan, powered by the same 1.2-litre engine with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) as the hatchback, will be produced for export from Thailand.
“Our Gateway Manufacturing plant in Chachoengsao province has been given a role to be a global production and export hub for the all-new Yaris sedan to serve over 70 countries,” he said. “We are proud that our passion for manufacturing excellence will travel not only around Thailand but also to Toyota customers worldwide.”
Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont, executive vice president of TMT, said the new Yaris would be priced from Bt486,000-Bt619,000 for the Thai market, adding that Toyota hopes to sell as many as 4,700 units a month here.
The new model comes with seven airbags as standard equipment in all five variants.
“We are offering additional safety equipment worth approximately Bt50,000 while maintaining the old pricing of the Yaris,” he said, adding that this will dramatically raise the attractiveness of the car in the highly-competitive Thai auto market.
During the first half of this year, Toyota maintained its leading position in the total auto market after selling 112,488 vehicles, comprising 45,167 passenger cars (up 26.5 per cent) and 67,321 commercial vehicles (down 8.3 per cent). Arch-rival Honda leads in the passenger car market with a six-month aggregate of 45,983 units, thanks to the introduction of a large number of new models this year, including the popular CR-V that is now available with a diesel engine choice. Isuzu leads in the commercial vehicle market with 70,419 units, with strong sales coming from its fuel-efficient 1.9-litre D-MAX pickup truck.