Shock price for cheapest Toyota
Toyota has raised the price of its cheapest car by nearly 44 per cent, suggesting that those who can't afford it look for a second-hand model.
The new Toyota Yaris starts at $22,130 plus on-road costs, a far cry from the $15,390 figure of its predecessor. Premium ZR models with alloy wheels and other niceties now start at $30,100 plus on-roads, almost 33 per cent more than the previous car's $30,100 price tag.
With dealer delivery, stamp duty and other costs factored in, Toyota customers will need to pay about $25,000 to get into a basic Yaris, while the range-topping hybrid model won't offer any change from $35,000 on the road.
Toyota defended its decision to reposition the Yaris by saying it is built on a new platform, with fresh technology and more efficient three-cylinder engines.
Sean Hanley, vice president for sales and marketing, said features such as a front centre airbag positioned between the driver and passenger, plus auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active cruise control and lane keeping assistance made the Yaris the safest car in its class.
"What you're seeing here today is a strategic shift in our approach," Hanley said.
"This is the cost of bringing a car of this nature to market now.
"If in the event that someone can't afford that, the credible alternative that we're seeing is a Toyota certified pre-owned vehicle.
"It's a choice."
The Yaris is available in three model lines. The basic Ascent Sport, priced from $23,630 in auto form, comes with basic steel wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an impressive safety suite with auto emergency braking, active cruise control, a reversing camera and more.
Mid-range SX models priced from $27,020 plus on-roads add 15-inch alloys, satnav, LED lights, climate control, smart keys and a plusher dashboard. The range-topping Yaris ZR has 16-inch alloys, a head-up display, sports seats, paddle shifters, blind-spot monitoring and other luxuries for $29,020 plus on-roads.
The standard engine is a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit which uses 4.9L/100km to make 88kW/145Nm maximums.
A three-cylinder hybrid version which uses a remarkable 3.3 litres of fuel for every 100 kilometres of driving offers 85kW of combined power. It's a $2000 option on SX and ZR models, which makes the cheapest hybrid an eye-watering $29,020 plus on-road costs.
That's more than the larger Corolla hybrid, though the Corolla won't be as well-equipped at that price.
A lightweight lithium-ion battery contributes to the Yaris' steep ask.
Hybrid models represented more than 40 per cent of Toyota sales in July, with more than half of Corolla, RAV4 and Camry customers choosing a fuel-saving engine.
Hanley said Toyota was confident the Yaris would continue to be a strong seller.
"I think there is still a very good appreciation for the value that this Yaris will present to our customers," he said.
"I remain confident that the market will respond to the value that this new model represents."
Originally published as Shock price for cheapest Toyota