Blog: Dave LeggettAygo I-go

Dave Leggett | 12 May 2005

Further to yesterday's blog, I can report that Toyota's Aygo (that is supposed to sound something like 'I go', but maybe Apple has bought the rights to that name) is a pretty competent product in its class. Good build quality, 1.0-litre VVT engine, straight out of the Daihatsu Sirion, delivers the necessary performance and a claimed 61.4mpg in combined cycle driving. All for a starting price under £7,000 to UK customers (targeted full-year UK sales of 13,000 units, 100,000 in Europe in 2006). Big enough inside to carry 'a quartet of six-footers' (according to the blurb)? Probably, but the two unfortunates in the back probably wouldn't be comfortable for long. Most of the time it won't have to do that of course and for around town driving it's fine.

There were signs of cost-cutting of course (horrible cheap and unergonomic heating and ventilation lever controls), but that kind of goes with the territory in a vehicle such as this. There are a lot of vehicles in the low-cost city car segment now and Toyota is hoping that the Aygo takes Toyota to new-to-the-brand customers who are young and can see the Aygo as something a little funky. The marketing plans sound suitable. It's plausible, I think, but we'll see. I'd rather have an Aygo than a Smart ForTwo (look the prat if you want to), or Suzuki Wagon R+ (truly awful machine, also sold as Vauxhall/Opel Agila) any day of the week, but I don't think I am in the target demographic.

Margins must be wafer thin though. Will certainly be interesting to see how the Peugeot and Citroen versions compare (wonder why PSA is apparently letting Toyota get Aygo out of the traps first?). The interesting thing in JV projects such as this is the extent of the cooperation between two OEMs. Once the cars are produced at the plant and turned over to the respective sales and marketing operations, they are fully competing, right? Every man for himself? I would just guess that there must be some tensions occasionally, especially when we are talking about low-margin cars in an ultra-competitive segment.


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