(Yicai Global) Feb. 22 -- Toyota Motor has refuted rumors that the Japanese carmaker will bring out cheaper models in the future for the Chinese market, an unnamed manager told Yicai Global.
The firm, based in Aichi prefecture, recently applied for two new trademarks in China, namely, Wigo and Agya, which are the names of cheaper models released in Southeast Asian markets, sparking market rumors that they could be rolled out in the country.
The move was part of efforts to shore up protection of its trademarks and was unrelated to new product launches in China, the firm said.
The Wigo model has sold well in the Philippines and Vietnam and it is known as the Agya in Indonesia. In Malaysia, local company Perodua sells the model under the name Axia and it is the cheapest car on the market.
Perodua sold nearly 90,000 Axia units last year, ranking third among the top ten bestselling vehicles in Southeast Asia, according to data from international research institute Focus2Move.
Because Wigo cars are cheaper than Toyota's Vios models in Southeast Asia, media reports speculated that they were likely to be cheaper than Vios in China too. A potential price of under CNY60,000 (USD8,926.5) was mooted, which is less than the Yaris (CNY70,000).
Toyota is accelerating efforts to gain market share in China through new technology and innovations due to the rising consumption in the country, Yicai Global learned. Toyota is targeting the new energy vehicle sector as well as mid-level and mid-to-high-end cars rather than focusing on cheaper models to boost sales.
Against the backdrop of a 15.8 percent annual sales decline in China's auto market, Toyota made a good start in January by selling 147,000 units in China, up 15.3 percent from a year earlier, becoming the fast-growing Japanese car brand.
Editor: William Clegg