Toyota will discontinue the Vitz nameplate in Japan with the introduction of upcoming 4th generation model. Instead, the vehicle will get its overseas name Yaris in its home market with the introduction of new generation thus carrying a globally unified nameplate.
The Vitz was first introduced in 1999 as a successor to Toyota Starlet. It was called as Yaris in European and other export markets. Currently in its third generation that was introduced back in 2010, the car has been around for more than 8 years and received periodic cosmetic revisions during all this time. Despite a stretchy production span, the Vitz still remain a popular hatchback in Japan and other markets across the globe.
The next generation Yaris will be based on Mazda 2. While most automakers have abandoned subcompact cars as consumers are now more inclined towards SUVs and crossovers, Toyota continues to show its confidence. However in order to reduce costs, the company is relying heavily on its partnership with Mazda.
The new Yaris range is expected to receive hybrid powertrain as well. The current Yaris is available with two petrol engines: a 1.0-liter three-cylinder and a 1.5-liter four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine. However there are reports that Corolla’s 1.2-liter turbocharged engine could also act as a replacement of both these engines.
Earlier this year, camouflaged test mules of Yaris hatchback were spotted testing on the Nurburgring race circuit in Germany in both standard and performance oriented GR Sport guise. Toyota has already said it would develop a performance version of each of its core models including some of the hybrids as well.
The 4th gen Toyota Yaris is expected to make its debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and will go on sale from early 2020.