Toyota Motor Europe re-enters the small minivan segment with the new 2011 Verso-S minivan that is targeted at young families that are hatchback buyers. Toyota Motor Europe hasn’t had a vehicle in this segment since 2006 when it stopped selling the Yaris Verso in Europe.
Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Europe president, said that the company believes that the vehicle will “appeal to young families switching from conventional hatchbacks.”
Leroy also thinks that the Verso-S will draw in customers who are downsizing from upper segments, as they will get the space, comfort, equipment and quality they're used to, but in a smaller, smarter package.
At the Paris Auto Show last week, Leroy said that the Verso-S will rival vehicles such as Opel/Vauxhall's Meriva and the Citroen C3 Picasso when it starts selling in Europe in February.
Toyota equipped this minivan with fuel-saving start-stop technology. Two types of engines will be available. One is a 1.3-liter gasoline engine that offers fuel economy 5.5 l/100 km and emits 127 grams of CO2/km.
The second is a 1.4-liter diesel unit offers a fuel economy of 4.3l/100 km and has CO2 emissions of 113 grams/km. Pricing details have not been revealed yet. The minivan has a length of less than 4000mm, making it the shortest small minivan on sale in Europe.
When the Yaris Verso was launched in 1999, the segment accounted for 80,000 annual sales in Europe. JATO Dynamics said that last year, the segment had sales of nearly 407,000. The Verso-S will be based on the new generation of the Rectis, a Yaris-based model offered in Japan.
The topseller in the minivan segment in Europe is the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, with 83,746 units sold last year. The Citroen C3 Picasso ranks second with 75,723 units and the Renault Modus/Grand Modus came in third with 71,054 units sold. [via autonews - sub. required]