To be more competitive against rivals Hyundai and Kia, a station wagon variant of Toyota’s latest Auris compact car will be offered. The Auris wagon is the only compact wagon that Toyota will sell in Europe with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. Toyota anticipates that the hybrid Auris units will make up about a third of Auris sales.
Gasoline variants and diesels will account for one third each. Toyota said that currently, 25% of compact car sales in Europe are wagons. Toyota withdrew from the segment in 2006 when the Europe-only Auris replaced the Corolla. Since then, Auris sales have not performed well against its rivals in the mainstream compact market. Majority of these rivals sell wagon alternatives.
Ian Fletcher, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, said that providing a wide range of options for the new Auris would make it have a “fair stab” at the market compared to how the first generation performed.
Fleet buyers like compact wagons. Kia believes that the new Cee'd compact wagon will outsell the five-door hatchback with the demand from business buyers in the UK. IHS Automotive forecasts that the compact wagon market will continue to be stable, with an average of about 700,000 units annually in Europe until 2016.
IHS Automotive said that Auris sales have dropped from a peak of 134,206 in 2008 to 87,598 last year in Europe. IHS expects that adding a wagon will increase Auris sales to 115,000 in 2013.
But by 2015, this figure is expected to fall to lower than 100,000. Market researchers JATO Dynamics said that in the first seven months, Toyota was able to sell 48,007 Auris units. Toyota will introduce the Auris wagon together with the new hatchback at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. By early next year, the hatchback is slated to arrive while the wagon is expected to be launched in the second half.
Toyota designed the next generation of the Auris that features a more confident and more dynamic exterior, while maximizing its lower overall height and lower center of gravity. This exterior design is defined by a front end that promptly reveals the new car’s newly found confidence and inherent agility. Underpinning the front end of the new Toyota Auris is the carmaker Under Priority-designed grille as flanked by Keen Look headlamp and LED Daytime Running Light (DRL).
Toyota’s Under Priority design allows the new Auris to sport a large, trapezoidal lower grille as set within the front bumper. This design also includes a smaller upper grille that extends to the new headlamp cluster. This upper grille dons a central, chrome-plated horizontal trim bar that is also visually extended to the headlamps, thereby helping highlight the vehicle’s width. Located at the center of the upper grille – just on the end of the bonnet line – is a new large Toyota badge that is now set lower than on the previous models.
Meanwhile, a horizontal chrome trim bar originating from the grille flows into the headlamp clusters, thereby assuming an 'eyebrow' form that underscores the narrow clearance between the bonnet and the headlights. The headlamps are available either as Bi-HID (High Intensity Discharge) or halogen lamp projector units, as complemented by Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) that employ LED technology.