Automakers are abandoning cars as customers flock to crossovers and SUVs, chasing huge profits as they invest in new models, autonomous vehicles, and electrification. But Toyota isn’t. The company’s city car, the Aygo, is a strong seller for the Japanese automaker, and one the company has invested serious equity, according to Matt Harrison, executive vice-president of Toyota Europe, who spoke with Autocar about the model’s future.
According to Harrison, Toyota is selling 100,000 Aygos a year, and the company sees the potential for the model as others abandon the segment. Harrison told the publication Toyota sees “an opportunity to go further, not pull back.” While the next-generation Aygo is still a few years away, it sounds like Toyota already has plans for the tiny runabout.
When the third-generation Aygo debuts, which likely won’t happen until 2021 or 2022, it could forgo a traditional small-car body style. Instead, it could adopt crossover-like styling cues such as a raised suspension and plastic cladding to give the appearance that it’s more capable than it is. However, one area that could prove challenging for the future Aygo is fitting an electric powertrain into the car’s bite-sized footprint.
Gallery: 2018 Toyota Aygo facelift
Toyota plans to sell one million electric vehicles by 2025, though an electric Aygo is unlikely to account for any of those sales. Harrison admitted there isn’t a profitable business case for a small electric car just yet. Though it appears Toyota will design the Aygo to offer some form of electrification in the future. Harrison added that Toyota has time for the technology and business case to mature while monitoring customer demand and needs.
While many customers around the world are buying crossovers and SUVs, there are still those out there that want something compact and fuel-efficient. Not everyone needs cavernous cargo space and comfortable seating for seven. Some want a small, well-appointed city car – and Toyota will fill that void.