Toyota is making a determined push to retain its clout in the entry- to mid-tier automotive market with the launch of the 2012 Yaris hatchback. It is priced at Dh51,000 to Dh56,000 in what has always been a high-price sensitive category.
To address the needs of the target buyer, the new model comes with improved fuel economy as well as a sportier look.
"We are seeing new excitement in the compact category in the UAE; the hatchback body style dominates the compact vehicle segment, and is preferred by the majority of car buyers in this category," said Simon Frith, managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors, the local Toyota dealership.
"Today's price-conscious shoppers want the complete package that the new Yaris offers."
Pricing in the entry- to mid-tier category assumes greater significance in the wake of the requirement that car buyers must put up 20 per cent of the value as down payment to be eligible for bank finance.
The directive from the Central Bank came into effect from May and in the immediate weeks it had significant influence in dampening demand in the UAE.
But since Ramadan market sources talk about an improvement in sentiment and that prospective new buyers have taken the new requirements in their stride.
It also helped that all of the leading auto dealerships here brought on board financing schemes by which the monthly installments are lowered and the models could be bought or traded in at the end of the third year.
The new Yaris hatchback has been completely redesigned for 2012 to feature a sportier look. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 50mm, to 2518mm, with the overall length of the vehicle gaining 100mm to 3885mm.
The height is reduced by 15mm for a stance that is both lower and longer. Standard equipment levels have been improved across two grades.
The new Yaris will be offered in two grades, with the mid-level value-pack and a sporty level. "As with every Toyota, Yaris proves to be both durable and reliable with great residual value," said Simon Frith of Al-Futtaim Motors.