Toyota has unveiled its Yaris sedan at the 2018 Auto Expo that leads the Japanese brand’s first foray into the Indian B-high segment and a possible glimpse of what Australia’s updated Yaris hatchback may look like.
To be built and sold in India where the car market grew last year by almost 10 per cent to 3.2 million sales annually, the Yaris sedan is similar to the model currently built and sold in Thailand and brings 12 segment-first features such as four-wheel disc brakes, front parking sensors, 4.1-inch driver cluster display, gesture infotainment control and 60:40 split seats. Some of the other first-to-segment features are tedious, such as an adjustable rear centre headrest, but it’s the added safety, which includes seven airbags and basic electronic aids, that will appeal in the relatively safety-hampered country.
“We are delighted to mark Toyota’s entry in the B-high segment in India with the Yaris,” said Takatomo Suzuki, chief engineer at Toyota. “We see Yaris as a model that will introduce new customers to brand Toyota in the country.”
The introduction of the Yaris to India brings the total number of countries selling the model to 120, including Australia that dumped the sedan in 2016 but continues to sell the ageing hatchback. The model announced at the Indian motor show may preview styling to feature on an update Down Under.
The engine has been upgraded over the 1.2-litre available in other Asian countries to a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with the choice of either a seven-speed CVT or six-speed manual, and comes with kit such as alloy wheels, cruise control, fog lamps, leather interior, electric seats and push start ignition.
The higher level of specification and added safety marks a change in direction for the Indian car market which is one of the strongest growing in the world.
“We have developed our new sedan without compromise to embody the Indian car buyers’ overarching desires for a premium and high-performance vehicle. We are certain that the design concept of Yaris, which is inspired by actual customer needs rather than traditional ideas will exceed expectations. Our focus has been on creating a distinctive, superior car with intuitive functions that is set to lead the next generation of B-High segment and simultaneously drive an emotional connect with the Indian customer base,” Mr Suzuki said.
A Toyota Australia spokesperson confirmed to TMR that the sedan would not make an appearance here as sales of sedans slowed due to SUV growth.
“Although the Yaris is a global car and while we continue to sell the Yaris Hatchback in Australia there are no plans to introduce the sedan here at this stage.”
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