Toyota started its production of the subcompact car Yaris in 1999. Throughout the years, this vehicle has been marketed to several countries using a variety of names for a more efficient advertising and promotional strategy. Here are the popular export versions of the Yaris that were sold around the globe.
1998: Toyota Vitz
The first generation Toyota Yaris was derived from the subcompact automobile produced and sold exclusively for the Japanese market--the Toyota Vitz. Its production started in 1998, and it was billed as the first generation XP10 series. During its first year, it was available in three- and five-door hatchback styles that were sold only in Japan. The digital speedometer was one of the most notable features of the Vitz.
Another subcompact vehicle was produced by Toyota in this same year--the Toyota Platz. Powered by an inline-four engine, it was available only in Japan as a four-door sedan. When Toyota started exporting it worldwide, its name was changed to Yaris and Echo.
1999: Toyota Yaris
In this year, Toyota expanded its market to Europe. Yaris became the official name of the model in this particular market. It was powered by the four-cylinder, 1.0-L and 1.3-L engines and Toyota's VVT-I technology. When it was introduced to the Australasian region in October, it adopted the name Echo.
2000-2005: Toyota Echo
In 2000, Toyota entered the North American automobile market successfully. The name Echo was retained, and it was sold in coupe and sedan versions. Almost 50,000 units were purchased during its first year. However, the sales dropped drastically in the following years. In 2003, car dealerships decided to stop restocking this model. In Europe though, Yaris was very popular. Consumers were very satisfied with the Yaris' style and performance. Toyota Yaris was even voted as the European car of the year.
2005-2010: Toyota Yaris Sedan
The second generation of Toyota Yaris was marked by the introduction of the Yaris sedan. It was derived from the Japanese market-exclusive Toyota Belta, and it entered the North American and Canadian market in 2006. In South Asian markets, it was called Toyota Vios. The latest version was created to replace the Vitz and the Platz. The newer version greatly increased in length and interior volume. The four-cylinder engine was also replaced by a three-cylinder engine that boosted 66kW and 89 hp. Yaris sedan was also available in Yaris S version in that same year. It came with optional alloy wheels and side airbags. In 2009, all Yaris sedans received major style upgrades with the addition of a new grille, wheel covers, curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes.
Aside from the Yaris sedan, a hatchback version was also created in 2005. The hatchback was named Toyota Yaris XP90; the name Yaris was used for the first time in North America.
2010-present: Toyota Yaris XP130
Only the hatchback-body-style Toyota Yaris is available from 2010 until today. The third generation Yaris XP130 was released in North America in July 2011, and it was available in three- and five-door designs, 1.5-liter engine, and five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The SE trim level comes with a sport-tuned suspension, a disk brake in each wheel, and larger 16-inch alloy wheels.
The next Yaris in the series is the HSD concept car that features a hybrid powertrain. It was first introduced in the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Sales began in June 2012 in Europe and by September 2012, its total unit sales had already reached 14,039.