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March 9, 2010

AUSTRALIA: Toyota to sell Scion xB as Rukus

Toyota Australia on Tuesday said it would launch an all-new model for the market, to be known as the Rukus, before the middle of the year.

Toyota Australia on Tuesday said it would launch an all-new model for the market, to be known as the Rukus, before the middle of the year.

It described the car as “an urban utility vehicle with head-turning styling that projects an aggressive appearance”.

A teaser picture showed a model almost identical to the Scion xB as sold in the US.

The model is also sold as the Toyota bB and Corolla Rumion in Japan.

Toyota Australia marketing manager Scott Thompson told local website The Motor Report the Rukus was expected to bring “young, urban trend-setters” to the brand. Toyota Australia is expecting a significant number of Rukus buyers to be people who have never previously considered a Toyota.

 This is a car that’s designed to be different, with a boxy shape that has become iconic,” Thompson said.

“When it’s launched late in the first half of this year, it will certainly stir up the small-car market – creating a ‘ruckus’, if you will.”

Thompson also said the Rukus would feature a wide range of standard features and that buyers are likely to be the kind that will bring their own personality to the car, including “wild paint jobs and funky wheels.”

“Potential customers have told us they want this style of car. We’ve listened and we’re responding,” Thompson said.

“Rukus is designed to be different: it’s not for everyone. It’s a bit like Vegemite [an Australian breakfast spread made from yeast extract]: it’s an acquired taste.”

In Japan, the Rumion and bB are offered with 1.3 litre and 1.5 litre I4 petrol engines while, in the US, the Scion xB is sold with a 117kW 2.4 litre I4. Japanese vehicle distributors in Australia often offer larger engines similar to those sold in the US so the 2.4 cannot be ruled out.

Toyota sold 16,814 vehicles ‘down under’ in February – up 13.3% year on year.

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