Toyota hopes a sleeker Auris will boost European sales
Toyota has given its Auris compact hatchback a sleeker design to help the car win more sales in Europe.
The automaker says the latest generation Auris will be key to the company's European growth ambitions.
The Auris will compete with cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It will debut at the Paris auto show on September 27 at the same time as the new VW Golf.
The current Auris was criticized for its bland styling and Toyota says it has given the new version a "sharper, more distinctive styling reflecting the new face of Toyota."
The Auris "is the latest model to reflect Toyota's determination to engineer cars that are more appealing and dynamically engaging to drive," the automaker said in a statement.
Like the current Auris, the new car will be offered with gasoline, gasoline-electric hybrid and diesel powertrains. Toyota said it expects a third of Auris sales in Europe to be hybrid versions.
All versions will be built at Toyota's factory in Burnaston plant in central England.
The new Auris is lower, longer and lighter than the current car. Toyota reduced the height by 55mm and has given the car a lower front end design to improve its aerodynamic performance and reduce fuel consumption.
Weight has been reduced by 40kg compared with the current model, depending on the version.
The interior has been improved by the use of more leather and fabric trim, as well as soft touch plastics, Toyota said. Cargo space has been enlarged to 360 liters and 20mm has been added to the rear seat knee room.
The Auris is Toyota's second-best seller in Europe after the Yaris subcompact. European sales of the Auris were nearly 42,000 in the first six months, down almost 20 percent on the year before. Europe's best-selling compact car is the VW Golf, with sales of 244,000 in the first half, down nearly 6 percent.
Toyota aims to boost its European unit sales above the 1-million mark again within two to three years, up from a forecast 835,000 this year and 822,000 last year.
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