Toyota says new minicar for Europe will be built at Czech plant

Automotive Industry

Source: Automotive News Europe, 2021-06-04

Toyota has confirmed it will build its new minicar previewed by the Aygo X concept at its plant in Kolin in the Czech Republic.

The car will be produced alongside the Yaris small car and will use the same GA-B version of the Toyota New Global Architecture as the Yaris, Toyota said in a statement on 4 June.

Toyota also builds the Yaris at its plant in Valenciennes, France.

Toyota is one of the few major automakers that intends to stay in Europe’s minicar segment with a combustion engine model. Ford and Opel are among companies that have quit the segment because of low profits while other automakers have switched to higher-priced electric versions in response to regulatory pressure to cut CO2 emissions.

The new minicar, along with the Yaris and the upcoming Yaris Cross, also on the GA-B platform, will give the automaker the economies of scale needed for producing small cars, Toyota Europe’s Manufacturing Boss, Marvin Cooke, said in the statement.

The car "is a European car in every sense, from development to production," Toyota said.

Toyota said the model underlines the company’s commitment to expand European production and increase annual vehicle sales in its European markets including Russia to 1.5m by 2025 for a 7% market share, up from from sales of just over 1m in its latest fiscal year that ended on 31 March. 

Toyota builds the current Aygo at Kolin alongside the related Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1. Toyota took full ownership of the factory on 1 January Previously it was a joint venture with PSA Group. Yaris production at the plant will start in the second half.

Toyota said name of the new car, volume plans, and the timing of its introduction will be announced at a future date. The automaker has previously said it will reveal a production version later in 2021, indicating a launch in 2022.

The Aygo X concept hinted at an SUV design for the minicar, with chunkier looks and a higher ground clearance than the current Aygo. The Aygo X name suggests Toyota will call the new car Aygo Cross in line with the Yaris Cross small SUV due later in 2021.

The Aygo was the No. 3-selling minicar in Europe in 2020 with a volume of 83,277, down 17% on the year before, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers.

Production at the Kolin plant was suspended for 14 days in March and April due to the shortage of semiconductors.

Toyota could also add production of a planned Yaris-based hybrid small car for Mazda at the Kolin plant.

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