Toyota Yaris sales drop by 75 per cent after $9500 price rise

The new-generation Toyota Yaris is the most expensive model to date. Sales have slowed dramatically, however the company says it is happy with the result.

Toyota Yaris sales have fallen to a fraction of their former glory, with deliveries down by 75 per cent in a market that fell by only 1.5 per cent last month.

The new-generation Toyota Yaris was released two months ago with a sharp price rise that saw Toyota vacate the sub-$20,000 segment for the first time since it officially began selling cars in Australia in 1959.

The previous Toyota Yaris hatch started from $15,990 drive-away for a base model with manual transmission and from $17,490 drive-away with automatic.

Although Toyota described this as a runout deal, the previous Yaris was in fact available for the better part of two years at this price.

The new Toyota Yaris costs from $25,500 drive-away, according to the manufacturer’s website, an increase of $9500.

Official sales figures for October 2020 show just 218 examples of the Toyota Yaris were reported as sold, compared to 863 for the same month last year.

Although COVID-19 initially dented sales of the Yaris earlier this year, Toyota has consistently outperformed the market.

Last month, Toyota sales increased by 14.8 per cent in a market that slipped by 1.5 per cent. The 75 per cent sales decline of the Yaris represents the biggest decline for any model in Toyota’s line up.

Despite the shock result, Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley last week defended the price hike on the new Yaris hatch and insisted it is “priced accordingly”.

“Technology and price go together and our order intake on Yaris shows the market understands that,” said Mr Hanley.

“It also confirms that today’s genuine new-car buyer understands that the entry point to a quality vehicle from a quality brand is above $20,000.”

When asked if the just-released Toyota Yaris Cross city SUV (pictured above) could eventually kill off the Yaris hatch, Mr Hanley said the model “still has a significant role to play “.

“Whilst the market is declining, we still believe there is a market there for that smaller hatch, specifically,” said Mr Hanley. “Because markets change, markets move, we’ll always evaluate. But I can assure you as I sit here today, I’m not aware of any plan to drop Yaris hatch to their market. But like any model, like any market trend, we’ll continue to evaluate that as we go forward.”

Mr Hanley said: “In short, Yaris hatch remains a vital contributor to Toyota’s overall sales, albeit at a reduced level and in a segment that is clearly in decline”.

The new-generation Toyota Yaris is a completely new model from the tyres up, and includes twin centre airbags (pictured above), a new super-efficient engine, and other advanced tech that contributed to the price rise.

However, industry insiders insist these changes – and currency pressure – are not solely responsible for the sharp price increases.

“Some of this is (related to) supply and demand, but Toyota is probably also testing to see what the market can handle in terms of price, now that that segment is shrinking and the brands are leaving,” said a veteran multi-franchise new-car dealer.

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