Toyota sees the addition of a BMW-sourced diesel engine will allow it to become more competitive in the compact minivan segment in Europe. To start off, Toyota will start offering BMW's 1.6-liter diesel in its Verso model starting February 2014. Gerald Killmann, project director at Toyota Motor Europe's r&d center, told Automotive News Europe that over 50 percent of the European minivan sector is powered by 1.6-liter diesel, which they didn't have.
The 1.6-liter diesel powerplant is the first product of a two-year-old technology cooperation between Toyota and BMW, which also includes fuel cells, lithium-air batteries and lightweight technologies. In the first 10 months of 2013, Toyota sold 29,303 Versos in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics.
In the same period, Renault sold 93,508 Scenics, Ford sold 84,441 C-Max units, and VW sold 76,867 Tourans -- all of which are available with 1.6-liter diesels. Those were the top 3 compact minivans in Europe in terms of sales after 10 months, according to JATO. Starting next year, the new Verso 1.6 D-4D will be powered by the same 112-hp diesel that also powers the Mini Cooper D and the BMW 114d.
The new diesel engine will be slotted in below Toyota's 2.0-liter diesel, which returns emissions of 129 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The BMW unit returns 119g/km, matching the emissions by the Touran 105-hp 1.6-liter variant with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
According to Killmann, the two gasoline versions of the Verso account for 68 percent of its sales in Europe. The diesel option was also part of Toyota’s effort to increase the Verso's sales in markets that raise tax on cars with high-placement engines like Turkey.
Toyota revealed that the Verso was a model that was developed to be exclusively sold to the Europe market. First launched in 2013, this was the first full-scale project of the brand to integrate from the start with Product Planning, Design, Research & Development, and Purchasing, all based on Europe. Indeed, the Verso was not only designed, but later engineered and then manufactured with Toyota Motor Europe in the lead.
According to Toyota, the style of the Verso was done at ED2, the brand’s design center located in France. There are at least 470 changed parts with 60% visible and the remaining 40% all related to driving dynamics as well as NVH. For its current version, the Verso symbolizes a complete model mid-lifecycle upgrade for the brand especially in Europe.
In designing the Verso, the objective of the brand was to be able to meet the varied and already increasing demands of many MPV customers today. Offering comfort and flexibility packaged under an excellent style, the Verso range truly exemplifies exceptional value for money. Despite the compact dimensions on the exterior, the Verso has excellent roominess and may well be the segment’s best seat couple distances. Indeed, this model has the versatility of a genuine multi-purpose vehicle especially with the brand’s very own Easy Flat seating system.
Originally launched in 2002, cumulative sales of the Verso have now reached at least 700,000 units. In fact for the current version, around 40,000 units have been sold since its first launch back in 2013, resulting in Toyota being able to experience an increase in the C-MPV segment share to 4.6%. The Verso is exclusively manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey.