Daihatsu has dusted off its most unfortunate nameplate for a rather unfortunate rebadge, as Autobild reports that the outgoing Toyota Yaris will be sold in Europe as the Daihatsu Charade starting this year. The 99 HP Charade will be sold for less than the European Yaris, which will be replaced shortly with the model that was recently launched in Japan. So, did Daihatsu’s engineers work out all the “Buru-buru” and “hyoko-hyoko” (“walk with a tremor” and “unsteady steps”)? Or is this just a cheap way to snag some of the low-cost sales that helped Hyundai pass Toyota as the best-selling Asian brand in Europe? Clearly the bosses at Toyota are still struggling with the dynamic that Paul Niedermeyer identified in his Curbside Classic on the Charade, when he wrote
Toyota took a minority ownership stake in Daihatsu in 1967, and upped that to 51% in 1999. Daihatsu was the source for kei-cars for Toyota, allowing it to not spread its resources into that narrow segment. But there has always been an overlap with Daihatsu’s larger cars, many of them having been Toyota rebadges. That’s not the case with the Charade, but Toyota’s Tercel was clearly stepping all over it, especially in the US. It begs the question as to whether Daihatsu has a real future as a word brand, or whether it will eventually be absorbed fully into the Toyota family.