Toyota Europe has dropped more hints it will launch a new small SUV after releasing details about its flexible new small car platform.
The automaker is one of the last companies to enter the booming small SUV segment but is expected to add the car to its Valenciennes, France, plant alongside the replacement Yaris. No timing or confirmation has been given for either cars.
The new models will use new TGNA architecture, but optimized for small cars.
Toyota said the small-car platform, called GA-B, would allow a "a variety of wheelbase lengths, vehicle heights and track widths" in a statement, meaning the company could produce a higher car alongside the Yaris.
The current generation Yaris has been on sale since 2011, but still sells well thanks to the popularity of the hybrid model which joined the range in 2012.
In the first six months of this year Toyota sold 116,469 of the Yaris in Europe, up 1.3 percent on the same period the year before, figures from market analysts JATO Dynamics show.
Toyota announced it was bringing the TNGA platform to the Valenciennes plants at the beginning of 2018 at an investment cost of more than 300 million euros. It said the investment would enable the plant to be able to produce 300,000 cars annually.
Toyota added a third shift to the plant in 2014 to bring production to 220,000 cars annually after dropping it to two shifts in 2010.
Toyota said the new GA-B platform would improve handling ability thanks to increased rigidity and a lower center of gravity. It can accommodate two different types of rear suspension -- a cheaper torsion beam or a more sophisticated multi-link set-up, depending on the vehicle type.
The platform also allows designers to create visually distinctive models with "appealing proportions", Toyota said. The positioning of the wheels creates smaller overhangs front and rear, a set-up valued by designers to make the cars look more dynamic.