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Toyota drops three-door Yaris

X marks: The revised Yaris gets a sharper new frontal design a la the updated Camry and new-generation European-market Aygo.

New-look Toyota Yaris here in September, but the three-door version will miss boat

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Toyota logo22 Apr 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

TOYOTA Australia will axe the slow-selling Yaris three-door entry model as part of a mid-life range update that will launch in September this year, three years after the current car’s launch.

Following a company trend towards more interesting and dynamic design under the leadership of president Akio Toyoda, the revised Yaris gets a sharper, triangular nose and grille design than before, as well as a large lower intake and a deeper front bumper.

There are also revised tail-lights, new wheel designs and an updated instrument panel with Toyota’s latest multimedia system.

Toyota calls its latest design language ‘keen look’. Similar themes can be seen on the European Aygo and the major Camry upgrade revealed in New York last week.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb explained the company’s decision to persist only with the five-door hatch and four-door sedan from September as one dictated by market demand.

“Five-door hatches have gained in popularity and now contribute close to 90 per cent of total sales in the light-car segment,” he said.

“Customers are telling our dealers they love the compact size of Yaris while also wanting the flexibility of having two extra doors.

“This strong customer preference has resulted in a significant shift in the market with three-door sales in this segment falling from around one-quarter of total demand in 2008 to single digits last year.

“During the same period, sales of five-door hatches have grown from two-thirds of total demand and now represent almost nine out of every 10 sales.” The revised Yaris range will enter the light-car segment at a challenging time. Sales in the micro and light segments are down 17.8 per cent and 15.1 per cent respectively in 2014 in an overall new vehicle market that is down a more modest 2.4 per cent.

The Yaris has fared a little better, dropping 9.0 per cent YTD, and sitting third in segment sales behind the class-leading Mazda2 (down 16.2 per cent but still on top) and the buoyant Hyundai i20 (up 18.2 per cent).

Yaris is the fourth highest selling Toyota passenger car ever sold in this country, after Corolla, Camry and Corona. Cumulative sales in Australia have passed 181,000 since the nameplate arrived in late 2005, when it replaced the Echo.

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