Mike Stevens | Dec 21, 2011

Toyota is packing up its small-car development and shipping it all to its European offices.

There are clearly strategic objectives in the move: Toyota will be looking to its European division to improve the appeal of its small car range - for both current and new models.

Perhaps surprisingly, Toyota is not a top-ten carmaker in Europe, nor does it have a top-ten model. Moving development of its small cars there will certainly give it a better handle on succeeding in what is arguably the most important small car market on the planet.

European style and technology dominates this sector - something the Koreans have been quick to recognise.

The move follows a management shuffle that has seen Toyota Europe's product planning and marketing boss Alain Uyttenhoven now overseeing the future development of the Corolla and Yaris, along with the Aygo city car.

"It is essential to bring focus to this mission and the product planning division will play a key role in this integrated strategy, together with our engineers and designers," Toyota Motor Europe CEO Didier Leroy said.

Toyota currently offers a wide range of small, light and "kei class" (660cc-engined sub-light cars) vehicles in its home market. It is unclear if development of light and sub-light models will continue in Japan or if they too will come out of Europe in the future.

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