The Toyota Yaris is the Japanese car maker's important player in many Asian as well as European markets.
In fact, Toyota felt the need to have a sedan version of the Yaris (called the Vios) which can also boast of a 'best seller' tag. Even in the US, the Yaris is the most affordable Toyota sold.
Now while the rest of the world was seeing the Yaris outperform its Japanese rivals (and some European models as well), countries such as Thailand and India have not heard of it at all.
And we Indians may never see the Yaris. Back in the Toyota Etios Liva launch in June 2011, Mr. Sandeep Singh, Deputy MD, TKM India, told us that the Yaris may never come to India. He said that the Yaris was not meant for India and that Toyota got their alternative to the Yaris, the Etios.
Not so for Thailand however. The Thai market is expecting a new car onslaught and Toyota is expected to introduce a new Vios first. The new Vios could go on sale at the Bangkok Motor Show (March) as it is already a delayed launch.
The second launch Toyota is planning for the Thai market could be the Yaris hatchback. Toyota has been testing a cosmetically and technologically regionalized Yaris in Thailand and this photo was posted on Facebook by a group called 'New Yaris Club'. Looks like the car has a fan following already.
[The design of the Thai market Yaris would be a combination of lines and curves from the Dear Qin and the European Yaris]
Toyota Thailand already announced that a new 'eco-car' was being planned for the market and the Yaris could very well be that car. Toyota Motor Thailand president Mr. Kyoichi Tanada has confirmed that the car will be launched no later than August, and Thai customers would love it.
The Yaris in Thailand could also run on E85 (Ethanol) fuel and this would significantly reduce the excise taxes on the car. The Thai Yaris may have a similarity or two with the Dear Qin Concept shown at Beijing last year. Technology and quality wise, it could be a diluted version of the European model.
With rival Honda planning up to 10 new car launches this year for the Thai market, Toyota is betting big on the Yaris hatch and the sedan to upset the competition.