Toyota Motor Europe wants to attract young families and hatchback buyers with its new Verso-S minivan.
The Verso-S marks the company's re-entry into Europe's fast-growing small minivan segment after the company stopped selling the Yaris Verso in Europe in 2006.
"We are confident that it will appeal to young families switching from conventional hatchbacks," said Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Europe president.
"But it will also attract customers downsizing from upper segments, giving them the space, comfort, equipment and quality they're used to, but in a smaller, smarter package," Leroy said at the Paris auto show last week.
The Verso-S will compete with vehicles such as Opel/Vauxhall's Meriva and the Citroen C3 Picasso when it goes on sale in Europe in February.
The minivan will have fuel-saving start-stop technology and will be offered with two choices of engines, a 1.3-liter gasoline engine that offers fuel economy 5.5 l/100 km and emits 127 grams of CO2/km and a 1.4-liter diesel unit that uses 4.3l/100 km and emits 113 grams of CO2/km. Toyota has not yet disclosed prices for the minivan.
With a length of less than 4000mm, the Verso-S will be the shortest small minivan on sale in Europe, Toyota said.
In 1999, when the Yaris Verso was introduced, the segment amounted to 80,000 annual sales in Europe. Last year, the segment had sales of nearly 407,000, according to JATO Dynamics.
The Verso-S will be based on the new generation of the Rectis, a Yaris-based model sold in Japan.
Europe's small minivan segment is led by the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, with 83,746 units sold last year, ahead the Citroen C3 Picasso, with 75,723 units and the Renault Modus/Grand Modus at 71,054 units, according to JATO.
Yaris Verso sales peaked to 34,449 units in 2000. Toyota sold almost 158,000 units of the Yaris Verso in Europe.