New Delhi, May 24 (Agency) Toyota has all but ceased production of its Yaris sedan. While dealers say the company still has stock of the car and will continue to sell it for the next few months, the focus will soon shift to the larger and better value for money Toyota Belta. Nothing but a rebadged Maruti Ciaz, the Toyota Belta is expected to hit showrooms towards the middle of August. Like other Maruti based Toyotas, it should be a strong seller for the company.
To begin with, the slow-selling Yaris was never really the right rival for the Honda City, Hyundai Verna or the value for money Maruti Ciaz. A bit more compact and not as well equipped, it never really caught the imagination of the sedan buying public. So, it was always going to be a hard sell. And then Toyota didn’t price it right. Sales weren’t impressive as a result and the Yaris often struggled to get out of three figures. The other reason the Yaris will be discontinued is to make space for Maruti and Toyota’s D22 or Creta fighter, an SUV both companies are pinning their hopes on. And then there are other Toyota-based products that both companies are likely to make in Toyota’s plant number 2, where the Yaris was made.
Toyota uses a bunch of names for its compact sedans and hatchbacks in various markets around the world. There’s the Yaris for one, a name we are familiar with; the same car is also called the Vios, and then in other markets like Japan, China and Malaysia, it’s called the Belta. While Toyota says the name takes inspiration from the Latin word Belle or beautiful, ‘Belta’ in Aussie slang also means a real cracker. Example: “that shot was a belta”. Using a name that’s already registered globally also makes it easy for Toyota. Like the Urban Cruiser, this is a name that already belongs to Toyota, and according to insiders, that just makes the process easier. As is evident, there isn’t any real difference between the Maruti Ciaz and Toyota’s version of it. The Toyota will have the same 105hp, 1.5-litre K Series petrol engine, the same mild-hybrid system, and it will even get the 4-speed automatic as well. The Belta will not just be sold in India, but will also be exported to overseas markets like South Africa. As with the Glanza and the Urban Cruiser, you can expect Toyota to deliver a more robust warranty package. The Belta will have a slightly different mix of variants and price points, and because the rush at Toyota dealers isn’t as much, you can expect a slightly more smoother overall experience.