The minicar market is apparently a big deal for Toyota Motor Co. The world’s largest maker will begin selling some of the pint-sized products produced by its Daihatsu subsidiary under its own brands.
The news, announced this morning from Japan, appears to be limited to the domestic home market, where 1.22 million minicars were sold during just the first eight months of this year. But with growing interest in such vehicles abroad, particularly in such places as Europe, it remains to be seen whether Toyota will move to expand the distribution arrangement with Daihatsu.
Starting in autumn 2011, Toyota will distribute three minicars through its Corolla and Netz distribution networks. Sales are expected to total about 60,000 vehicles annually.
“The minivehicle market has been expanding lately and more of our customers are asking for them,” explained Toyota Executive Vice President Yoichiro Ichimaru, at a press conference in Tokyo.
The decision to tap Daihatsu for the new models will allow “our focus (to) remain on the non-Mini segment,” the executive added. “But this way we will be able to meet the needs of such customers.”