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Toyota launches all-new minivan model in Japan, also sold under Daihatsu and Subaru brands

08 November 2016 IHS Markit Automotive Expert

Toyota has introduced a new a compact minivan, fitted with its newly developed 1.0-litre in-line 3-cylinder turbo engine. The vehicle will also be sold under the Daihatsu and Subaru brands.

IHS Markit Perspective

  • Significance: Toyota has launched a new five-seater compact minivan, dubbed as the Roomy and the Tank, in Japan. Furthermore, the automaker also confirmed its plans to add more electric cars as part of its eco-friendly vehicle strategy mainly centred on fuel-cell vehicles.
  • Implications: Both the Roomy and the Tank are fitted with a newly developed 1.0-litre in-line 3-cylinder turbo engine and paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Commenting on the newly developed 1.0-litre turbo engine, Toyota claims that it can "produce torque equivalent to that of a 1.5-litre class engine [140 Nm]".
  • Outlook: Japanese consumers will be able to purchase the Roomy from Toyota and Toyota Corolla dealerships across the country, while the Tank can be purchased from Toyopet and Netz dealerships across the country. The price range of the models has been kept between JPY1.46 million (USD13,980) and JPY2.01 million. Toyota expects to achieve a monthly sales volume of 3,750 units each of the Roomy and the Tank in Japan.

Toyota has today (9 November) launched a new five-seater compact minivan, dubbed as the Roomy and the Tank, in Japan. According to the automaker, both the Roomy and the Tank are available in the following grades: Custom GT, Custom GS/Custom G, G-T, GS/G, and XS/X, all fitted with a newly developed 1.0-litre in-line 3-cylinder turbo engine and paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Commenting on the newly developed 1.0-litre turbo engine, Toyota says that it can "produce torque equivalent to that of a 1.5-liter class engine [140Nm]". The new minivan is claimed to offer a fuel economy of 24.6 kilometres/litre for the two-wheel-drive model, 22.0 km/L for the four-wheel-drive model, and 21.8 km/L for the turbo-engine model. This will make them eligible for the Japanese government's subsidies and tax incentives for eco-cars. These results are based on the Japanese government's JC08 test cycle.

The automaker states that both the Roomy and Tank are based on the "1LD-CAR" concept, which combines a spacious interior with ample driving performance, targeted at families with small children, as well as customers with wide-ranging lifestyles. The models feature a power sliding door for easy entry and exit, a spacious interior, and variable seating configurations. In terms of key safety features, the vehicle features Toyota's Smart Assist II collision avoidance assist system. The primary role of this system is to help prevent or mitigate damage resulting from collisions in urban environments. The system provides driver support through five functions: a collision warning function for vehicles and pedestrians, a collision avoidance brake assist function for vehicles, an accidental-start control function for forward and backward starts, a line-deviation warning function, and a function that notifies the driver that the vehicle ahead has started moving forward. It is provided as standard on the XS, GS, G-T, Custom GS, and Custom G-T variants.

Separately, Toyota has confirmed plans to add more electric cars as part of its eco-friendly vehicle strategy, reports the Nikkei . The report cited Toyota's executive vice-president, Takahiko Ijichi, who said yesterday (8 November), "We want to get ready to consider the future release of electric vehicles". However, Ijichi added, "We still consider fuel cell vehicles the ultimate eco-cars", indicating that a dual focus is necessary to account for regional differences in conditions surrounding energy and infrastructure.

Outlook and implications

Japanese consumers will be able to purchase the Roomy from Toyota and Toyota Corolla dealerships across the country, while the Tank can be purchased from Toyopet and Netz dealerships across the country. The price range of the models has been kept between JPY1.46 million (USD13,980) and JPY2.01 million. Toyota expects to achieve a monthly sales volume of 3,750 units each of the Roomy and the Tank in Japan. According to Yoshiaki Kawano, a Tokyo-based senior analyst with IHS Automotive, Toyota is trying to make the two models look a bit different (with mild interior and exterior differences) in order to supply dealers catering to different customer groups.

The vehicle is developed by Daihatsu, is manufactured at its Ikeda plant in Japan. In addition to Toyota brand, the model will also be sold as Daihatsu's Thor and Thor Custom, and as Subaru's Justy and Justy Sport. Daihatsu expects to sell nearly 1,000 units monthly of the model in Japan. According to IHS Automotive light-vehicle data, the model, called the B-MPV, is expected to record a sales volume of nearly 11,669 units in 2016 and 56,532 units in 2017 in Japan under the Toyota brand. Under the Daihatsu brand, it will record sales of 933 units in 2016 and 4,522 units in 2017, while sales under the Subaru brand are expected to reach 1,050 units in 2016 and 5,086 units in 2017. The model is based on the new D91B(2) platform, on which Daihatsu also manufactures its Boon car.

Earlier this week, Toyota was reported as planning to mass-produce long-range electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020, part of which plan has been confirmed now. The Japanese automaker will set up a team by next year that will work on developing EVs. No other details, including a specific time frame, were confirmed by the automaker. As part of Toyota's previously stated strategy, the automaker said it would develop only short-range EVs for city use and rely on petrol-electric hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) as a replacement for conventional cars. MPV is developed by Daihatsu.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.

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