just-auto sources say Yaris hatchback will arrive end of first half 2018 and saloon by year end

just-auto sources say Yaris hatchback will arrive end of first half 2018 and saloon by year end

Contrary to a claim by Nikkei Asia Review, Toyota will not 'squeeze' their Sorocaba plant, in the state of Sao Paulo, to produce the Yaris alongside the current Etios hatchback and saloon subcompacts.

Instead, the automaker is spending BRL1bn/US$320m to enlarge Sorocaba facilities. For now, the company has only confirmed the Thai-based Yaris hatchback for the second half of 2018.

Meanwhile, just-auto sources said a saloon version (still to be named) is also confirmed. The sources said it the hatchback would make its debut at the end of the first half of next year with the saloon following by year end. 

Sorocaba, which celebrated its fifth anniversary late in August, was built with an initial investment of BRL1.9bn/$600m and currently employs 1,944 people. It incorporates the best of the most modern Toyota plants worldwide.

Present capacity is 108,000 units a year but Toyota has not revealed available output after the expansion. It has so far confirmed only hiring of 300 extra workers.

Toyota also confirmed a spend of BRL600m/$190m to enlarge its engine plant in Porto Feliz, next to Sorocaba, where the flexible fuel 1.3 litre and 1.5 litre engines for the Etios hatchback and saloon are produced. The Yaris will be powered by the 1.5, just-auto thinks.

Construction for expansion has started already and plant capacity will rise to 174,000 engines from 108,000.

All this together signals a new 1.8 and two litre engine family (an older design is currently imported) is in the pipeline to power the next generation Corolla planned for 2019.

Steve St Angelo, president of Toyota for South America and Caribbean, also stressed the export aims of  the Brazilian subsidiary during a new investments announcement ceremony at the engine plant.

"We initially sent just Corolla to Argentina. This year we started exporting to Paraguay and Uruguay and as of next year, to Colombia. In total we will sell 35,000 units in other countries this year including the Etios, a 22% growth over 2016," he said.

St Angelo said improved competitiveness abroad was due to production cost cuts, higher productivity and increasing use of local content.

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