So I'm in all the WapCar WhatsApp groups (you should join, they're the best if you want to meet other car people) and shortly after the handsome 2021 Toyota Yaris facelift broke cover, some members were abuzz with this question: "Why aren't we getting the JDM, TNGA-based 2020 Toyota Yaris here?"
But this set of pictures tells a different story, or at least it seems on the surface. What is this Japan/European-spec Yaris doing in Thailand? Wearning no camo and with manufacturer trade plates has it gone on sale quietly?
Here's the answer: the car is here for development work. Specifically, adaptability to the tropical climate and South East Asian traffic.
So, temper your expectations - sources at Toyota Motor Thailand confirmed that the JDM/Euro market TNGA Yaris is not for our region.
This is not a new development either - recall that earlier this year we saw the 2020 Peugeot Landtrek here in Malaysia. The Landtrek is a primarily sub-Saharan/Latin American product, and its presence here points towards tropical weather testing too.
ASEAN Yaris vs JDM Yaris
There's a few reasons why the 'cooler Yaris' hasn't made it here yet. On one hand there's size concerns, on the other, cost.
Believe it or not, the JDM-spec Yaris is small - 205 mm shorter and 35 mm narrower than ours.
Pricing could be another curveball as the TNGA Yaris is built with better cabin materials among other things - all of which could add up to the cost and prove challenging for Toyota to price it competitively in our region.
Don't forget there's competition in the form of the 2021 Honda City Hatchback too.
But still, it's made it to our region and the fact that it's undergoing tropical weather testing is something to pay attention to. Could it be something UMWT's announcing on 17-December? Whatever the case, let us know if you think it should make it to the list of 2021 Toyota models coming to Malaysia.