Late last week, it was uncovered that the Toyota Yaris' hatchback variant -- the one Toyota actually builds -- , and that more news about the Yaris lineup was coming soon. Now, a new report sheds some light on what might happen.
Car and Driver reported today that Toyota will likely take a page from the Yaris sedan and base a future Yaris Liftback (hatchback) on a car from Mazda. The current Toyota Yaris sedan -- formerly known as the Toyota Yaris iA and, before that, the Scion iA -- is based off the Mazda2 sedan. Thus, Car and Driver posits that the 2020 Yaris Liftback will be the same-generation Mazda2 hatchback with some Toyota badges on it.
Things got a little messy in Toyota's lineup when the automaker made the decision to Scion iM, elsewhere called the Toyota Auris, was folded into the Corolla lineup as the Corolla iM before being replaced with a proper Corolla Hatchback in 2018. The Scion iA was shoehorned into the Yaris lineup because of its small stature and affordable starting price, but it was a little confusing as half the Yaris lineup had Mazda tech and underpinnings.. The
Moving to a Mazda-based lineup in the US would likely boost sales. Car and Driver notes that Toyota sold 25,269 Yaris sedans in 2018, versus just 1,940 hatchbacks. Toyota updated the Yaris hatchback in 2017 with some European-inspired aesthetics, but the underlying bits are bordering on ancient. Plus, it's always nice to offload the hard parts of car development to somebody else.
Even though US consumers overwhelmingly prefer subcompact SUVs to subcompact hatchbacks, it's nice to know that Toyota doesn't appear poised to eliminate the Yaris lineup in the US entirely. While a Toyota spokesperson confirmed to Car and Driver that "a new hatchback model is coming for 2020," as the report notes, Toyota's statement to Roadshow is a bit more vague: "We will not be offering a MY2019 Yaris liftback for sale in the U.S. but will continue to offer the MY2019 Yaris sedan, which is built in Mexico in a partnership with Mazda. We're working on something new for MY2020 and look forward to seeing you at the New York Auto Show for more details." We'll likely have to wait until April for Toyota to spill any additional details, barring an early teaser of some sort.
Update, 3:37 p.m. Eastern: Added manufacturer comment.