Toyota Smells The Hatchback Comeback, Drops Yaris Sedan

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

When Toyota built the first generation of its Vitz subcompact in 1998, the firm had no plans to sell it in the US under the Yaris nameplate (as it was called in Europe). Instead it sold a four-door and two-door version of the Platz, which was mechanically identical but had unique sheetmetal (except for the front doors), as the Echo. The Echo fell into a pattern that seems to have repeated itself several times in Toyota’s recent subcompact past: a year of growth, and then a drop. Eventually, Toyota brought the Yaris nameplate to the US, with a hatchback option in tow, and found its strongest performer in this class since the Tercel.

Now, with the hatchback bodystyle back in vogue, Toyota’s dropping the Yaris sedan altogether for the new generation, debuting later this year. It’s not the JDM/Euro Yaris/Vitz which Bertel showed us back in December, but it is being built at the revolutionary Sendai plant he visited in Fbruary. And without a sedan counterpoint, it will definitely mark an entirely new approach for Toyota’s US-market subcompact strategy.

toyota smells the hatchback comeback drops yaris sedan

Join the conversation
7 of 26 comments
  • MrBostn MrBostn on Aug 19, 2011

    I like the HB idea. Now add awd/4wd, and a few more inches of ground clearance with fold flat rear seats, and good "5 O'clock" views. Or bring back the Corolla wagon, or remake the Stanza wagon.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 19, 2011

    So...are insurance premiums higher for hatchbacks(not suburban utility vehicles or child utility vehicles)? I've never owned one so I wouldn't know. I hear they are, but don't have first-hand experience. Perhaps this is part of the reason for the dislike of hatchbacks.

    • See 2 previous
    • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 19, 2011

      @Scout and Threeer You're both probably correct. Like I've said my interest in cars hasn't really been up to enthusiast status...well...ever. I enjoy reading about them and talking about them with my limited knowledge, but would be unable to make credible arguments for or against any major part (engine, transmission, suspension, RWD v. FWD v. AWD - and its varients). Also, I'm still young in the grandest scheme of things. As such I have no honest recollection of how many of the older cars were regarded, except what I'd heard from family about their experiences.

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that