BERLIN - Toyota will launch a small Yaris-based minivan in Europe next year and will later assemble it in France.
Toyota's board of directors has approved production of the vehicle, called Verso, as well as a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine for the vehicle, said Akira Imai, president of Toyota Motor Europe.
The Verso will be similar to the concept car of the same name presented at the Geneva show in March.
The Verso will be smaller than the Renault Megane Scenic and General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall Zafira.
It is expected to be positioned between GM's Agila, the Suzuki Wagon R-based microvan that will be built at Opel's new plant in Poland, and the Mercedes-Benz A-class. Like the Agila, the Verso is tall and roomy.
The Verso will be built at Toyota's new factory in Valenciennes, France, but only after the Yaris has reached full production, said Imai. The Valenciennes plant will begin building the Yaris in early 2001. The exact timetable for Verso production has not yet been set.
Like the Yaris, the Verso will initially be imported from Japan.