Nikkei reports that Toyota and Daihatsu are working on a new small car that can be sold for less than US$11,000 (RM37,268) in emerging economies like India and Brazil. I’m really not sure what the big fuss is considering we have the baseline Perodua Viva BX sold here for RM25,300, but perhaps this new car will be something bigger yet cheaper. The cheapest Perodua Myvi here is the 1.0 litre SR at RM38,924.10.
This new car will be designed for developing country export markets. Right now, Toyota’s Daihatsu-sourced compact cars have been mostly export versions of its Japanese market cars with more Westernised names. For example, the Japanese market Daihatsu Coo is called the Materia in some other markets.
Toyota’s new president Akio Toyoda’s vision is for Toyota to start tailor-making products for individual regions rather than just offering the same vehicle line-up across the world market. This goes the other direction compared to the World Car projects that other automakers are embarking on. GM’s American Cobalt and Korean Optra are basically in the same segment and have been replaced by a single model – the Cruze.
But if Toyota can tailor-make different products for cheap, they may do better in terms of sales. I have a feeling making small cars for developing countries and selling them at the same price as their existing Japan market small cars have more to do with boosting profit margins rather than anything else, as customers in those regions do not really expect the kind of refinement that JDM customers do.