Small cars are popular in China, but Yaris has been a flop since its initial release by GAC Toyota in July 2008. The cause of it, GAC claimed, was that the car looked "stingy" to Chinese consumers. So in the past one year Toyota has been giving the subcompact a quick makeover, developing a 2011 model specifically for the Chinese market. The result, officially unveiled yesterday, was a model with an extended boy and a new grille.
Mainly to make the front and rear bumpers more pronounced, the new Yaris grows 165mm longer. The height and width of the body, as well as the wheelbase, are unchanged. The new, chrome billet grille, replacing the black honeycomb, is intended to give the car a more expensive look. Does the car look stronger and pricier now? Toyota says most Chinese surveyed said yes.
The same two engine options, the 1.3L and 1.6L VVT-i, are provided, while four upper, 1.6RS trims are canceled.
Interior changes are unsubstantial, only concerning the color choices of the center console and seats.
A best seller in Europe, Yaris’ global sales have exceeded 4 million units. Yet, only about 80,000 units were delivered in China since its 2008 release by GAC Toyota; in the first half of this year, it sold about 10,000 units, falling far behind its rivals like Suzuki Swift (24,209 in the same period), Honda Fit (17,146), and Mazda2 (16,170).
For photos, prices, and features of the 2011 Yaris, please click here.