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Toyota's new 7-seater for SA?

2006-09-20 07:52

John Oxley

The Toyota Avanza - currently sold only in Indonesia and Malaysia

While most people expect a new entry-level Toyota - the Aygo - to be shown at the Auto Africa Show in Johannesburg October, insiders have told me this would merely be "testing the waters" to see if the vehicle would suit South African buyers.

It seems the real surprise is the Avanza, an Indonesian-sourced seven seater built on a lengthened version of the Yaris platform, and with a similar 1.3-litre 65 kW power plant.

We first heard about this car almost two years ago.

Although Toyota SA is mum about the project, the Aygo, which we wrote about last week, and the Avanza, are both are expected to be on the show.

In a media release the company said it will "announce another new nameplate for the South African market at Auto Africa, with the introduction of another range of vehicles positioned at the affordable end of the market".

The European-styled Aygo hatchback is smaller than the current Toyota entry-level car, the Yaris T1, and has a 50 kW 1-litre engine. We estimate it would sell for around R90 000.

However, around a year ago news leaked out that Toyota SA was readying trhe Avanza, a seven-seater small vehicle sold in Malaysia and Indonesia.

It is believed, because of its Asian source, that it could be brought to market at a highly competitive price.

With about five weeks to go before the show, we hope more information will leak out before then. For the moment, only time will tell.

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