Toyota is expecting the Thai eco car segment to continue to rise, and eventually reach 25% of total auto sales in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports.

The fuel efficient and affordable segment accounted for 114,093 units of 15% of total industry volume last year. Toyota expects it to climb to 160,000 units this year for a market share of 20%. “We believe that the eco-car vehicles have the potential over the next few years to represent up to 25% of the Thai car market,” said Toyota Motor Thailand executive VP Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont.

Toyota launched the Yaris Ativ in Thailand yesterday. The new model is Toyota’s second eco car after the Yaris hatchback, which was introduced in October 2013. The Yaris hatch reached the sales milestone of 150,000 units in May this year, in addition to the 51,200 units exported to over 70 countries.

Despite not being a pioneer in Thai eco cars and having only one model before yesterday, the big T is the eco car segment leader – last year, it sold 36,648 eco cars last year for a segment share of 32%, ahead of five Japanese rivals. With the Yaris Ativ sedan, Toyota is expecting its eco car sales to rise to 38,000 units this year.

Besides phase one and two of the eco car scheme, Toyota also has hybrid plans in Thailand. The company already makes the Camry Hybrid in the Land of Smiles, but was recently granted Board of Investment privileges for hybrid electric vehicles to assemble 7,000 units a year, make 70,000 batteries and produce other parts, all under a total investment of 19.016 billion baht.

The Yaris Ativ is a sedan based on the current Vios. It is powered by the same 1.2 litre Dual VVT-i engine found in the Yaris, with 86 PS and 108 Nm of torque. The 3NR-FE four-pot is paired to a CVT automatic. It is priced from 469,000 baht (RM60,506) to 619,000 baht (RM79,858) in Thailand.

GALLERY: Toyota Yaris Ativ