It was already a bit too late by the time Toyota Kirloskar Motor decided to make its first proper attempt at the once popular mid-size sedan segment. The ever rising popularity of crossovers has been diminishing the sedan segment steadily as evident from the dwindling sales numbers of stalwarts like Honda City and Maruti Ciaz.
Having started its journey in 2018 on the sidelines, the Toyota Yaris didn’t quite make inroads even after an update late last year. The upcoming BS6 emission regulations are likely to shift the fuel preference sharply away from diesel, thus giving Toyota another possible chance to do something with its Yaris.
Rushlane has learnt that TKM is currently exploring the possibilities of a factory fitted CNG variant that will comply with the latest emission standards. Things are still in early stages but it the plan gets a go-ahead, we could see the CNG variant joining the lineup sometime close to Diwali 2020.
As of now, the Toyota Yaris is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder VVT-i petrol engine which is available either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed CVT. The motor has already been upgraded to BS6 standards and it didn’t lose any performance in the process. The power and torque figures stand at 107 hp and 140 Nm.
If the Toyota Yaris CNG gets a green light, it will be the first factory-fitted CNG variant in the mid-size sedan segment. With more than more people shying away from diesel cars, the CNG variant could be viewed as an interesting alternative with comparable running costs. We expect the 1.5-liter motor to witness a marginal drop in performance in its CNG avatar.
In related news, Toyota is gearing up to introduce the Vellfire luxury people carrier in the coming days. The premium MPV will be rivaling the Mercedes V Class and will be a CBU import.
The automaker is also working on badge engineered versions of Maruti Ertiga and Vitara Brezza with an aim to establishing presence in high-potential segments. The partnership with Suzuki is expected to be play a key role in Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s medium term product strategy.