It's been a long time coming, but finally we have an alternative to the Honda Jazz in the form of the Toyota Yaris. Unveiled in Thailand on the 20th January, the Yaris should have Honda worried, as around 60% of their Thai sales come from the Jazz.
As usual Toyota have managed to find a disturbingly sad caption for the launch of the new car. This time "Be Groovy" is the best the Toyota marketing team could come up with, and the press release managed to use the word "trendy" a couple of times, which seems to be a word which is erm... trendy in Thailand at the moment.
NAGOYA â€” Toyota Motor Corp said Thursday it will build a new car plant in Thailand to produce Hilux pickup trucks from early 2007.
The plant in Chachoengsao Province, about 65 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, will have a production capacity of 100,000 units a year. Japan's largest automaker said it will invest 41 billion yen in the facility, which will create up to about 2,000 jobs.
(Source: Japan Today News)
Update : New Vios spyed in Bangkok! We were right about the car, but it has taken much longer for the Belta to make its way to Thailand than we expected.
Update 2: All new Vios is released. It's here!
Toyota have just released a new compact sedan in Japan. Belta, according to Toyota's website, means "Beauty", and while I don't doubt their Italian language skills I would argue that the Italians do know more about making cars that could be described as beautiful. Looking at the images of the Belta, "beauty" would not be a word that would enter my head.
1.41million Toyota cars are being recalled because of a headlight fault.
The recall affects 16 models built between May 2000 and August 2002 and will reportedly cost Toyota Â£73m.
It is recalling 1.27 million models in Japan, as well as cars exported to Australia, Singapore and Thailand.
The recall was announced by Japan's Transport Ministry, which said no injuries or accidents had been attributed to the defect.
Toyota has released an updated Vios. As the Soluna page on the "e-TOYOTACLUB Thailand" website says: "TOYOTA introduces new "Soluna Vios" the sport sedan with abreast of the time for more convenience lifestlye." That's lovely, I'm sure! Oh, and although that page is in "English" the downloadable brochure is in Thai. But the pictures are nice!
Toyota is calling for a cut in excise tax on hybrid cars with engines capacities of 3,000cc or greater. Toyota say that this would boost sales.
Although it is possible that sales would increase, it's also possible that Thai consumers will continue to buy the biggest car they can afford. Even if the tax on large Hybrid cars were to be cut, they would still be much more expensive than Thai built SUVs such as the massively popular, and massive Toyota Fortuner, due to the fact that hybrid vehicles have higher production costs. Owners of these thirsty machines probably didn't ask too many questions about fuel economy in the Toyota sales office.