Toyota Yaris 2014 Concept Sketch 620x277

X marks the spot for Toyota

The strong ‘X’ shape graphic on the front of the new Toyota Aygo and Yaris are a sign of a bolder approach to design for the Japanese company which will become evident in larger models in the future.

Fabio Capano of Toyota Europe product communications said: “You will find that bolder design is the way we are going in the future and we are getting a good reaction to the look of the Aygo and now the Yaris.”

Product manager Alessandro Massimino, added that the new model follows the trend set by Aygo in adopting a stronger appearance, notably with the new frontal treatment with separate upper and lower elements. At the rear there is a redesigned bumper with integrated diffuser, new LED light clusters and a sculpted licence plate surround.

The market for superminis – the B-segment – is approaching 3m annually in Europe – 4m including Russia – making it easily the largest new car sector. It accounts for more than one in every five cars sold in Europe, equivalent to a 20.4 percent share of the total market last year when Yaris alone accounted for 24 percent of Toyota’s total European sales volume.

Massimino said that stiff competition in the sector has prompted marked changes to the nature of the product itself. From being a small, rational family model, the supermini has developed to become much more refined and with levels of technology and driveability inherited from larger, luxury models.

Yaris sales totalled 173,800 in 2013, with 70 per cent of these to private customers. This gave it 11th place in the European new car market and sixth within the supermini segment.

The French-built Yaris is now Toyota’s best-selling model in Europe accounting for 20 percent of volume on the mainland and even higher at 35 percent in the UK according to Chris Hayes, marketing director at Toyota GB.

The latest generation comes in with a choice of 1.0 and 1.3-litre petrol engines and a 1.4 diesel plus the hybrid model which is now “mainstream”, said Toyota. Some 3,000 were sold in the hybrid’s first year in the UK in 2012, a figure that is expected to jump to 9,000 third year. The new version is equipped with Toyota’s 1.5-litre engine and an electric motor.

Hayes added: “We expect that growth to continue with the new model with the hybrid accounting for 50 percent of Yaris sales by 2020. The new model will go on sale in the UK with a five year warranty with prices ranging from £9,995 to £15,695.

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