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City Cars

Toyota Etios Concept Revealed for India

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Toyota Etios Concept

It’s no secret that small, inexpensive cars are very popular in India. The Tata Nano has driven this idea home. Not the type to stay on the sidelines, Toyota has unveiled its Etios Concept, a new subcompact expected to make strong headway in the segment.

The Etios will be available in both four and five-door variants. As you would expect, not much in the way of standard and optional features will be offered in this basic compact car. Engine choices are also minimal and consist of a 1.2-liter in the hatch and a 1.5-liter in the sedan.

The Etios is not a looker but it is functional. It goes on sale in India later this year with a base price below $10,000. Toyota expects to sell around 70,000 units annually and plans to export some units in markets outside of India, including Russia and South America. There are no plans for the North American market. For more detail, check out the press release after the jump.

Press Release:

Toyota Unveils Concept Version of New Compact Car for India

Tokyo-TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces its production and sales subsidiary in India unveiled today-under the banner: “World First, India First”-a concept version of the “Etios*”, a compact car newly developed specifically for the Indian market. Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private, Ltd. (TKM) is showing the concept car at the 10th Auto Expo automobile show in New Delhi, which runs until January 11.

The Etios is aimed at family users in India’s rapidly growing automobile market. Reflecting its “one class above” theme, the Etios’ styling evokes a sense of advanced status, and, along with a spacious interior with abundant storage space, it aims to offer both smooth and powerful driving and excellent fuel efficiency.

To make the car as affordable as possible for potential customers, thorough use of local parts will be pursued to keep costs low.

On display at the show are a sedan version with a newly developed 1.5-liter gasoline engine and a hatchback version with a newly developed 1.2-liter gasoline engine.

Etios chief engineer, Yoshinori Noritake, said at the show: “I visited many Indian cities and homes to learn the market and to hear from the consumer directly.

Over four years, more than 2,000 engineers have been involved in the development of the Etios, and each has devoted his or her best effort with no compromises. I am convinced in my heart that the Etios offers joy of ownership and quality of life to consumers in India.”

TKM will produce the Etios from late 2010 at its second plant, which is now being built expressly for the new car.

Annual sales in India are set at 70,000 units. Exports are planned.

At the show, the TKM exhibit, with its key message of “Quality Revolution”, comprises a total of 14 production and concept vehicles, including the third-generation “Prius” gasoline-electric hybrid passenger car, which is scheduled to go on sale in India in 2010, the “Prado” SUV recently unveiled for the Indian market, the “i-REAL” personal mobility vehicle and the “Fine-S” fuel-cell hybrid vehicle.

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City Cars

Fiat Working on New City Car Smaller Than 500 Hatch?

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New Fiat 500 Cult City Car

As if the diminutive Fiat 500 wasn’t small enough, Italian automaker Fiat is reportedly testing a brand new city car that’s even smaller and more affordable.

The new model is supposedly called Topolino (translates to “small mouse” in Italian) and is roughly five inches shorter than the 500. It will be offered with both two- and four-door body styles but possibly only one engine — a variation of the two-cylinder TwinAir unit that powers many of Fiat and Alfa Romeo models in Europe.

Considering how tiny the 500 is, we’re are a bit skeptical about the . If it turns out to be true, expect the Fiat Topolino to debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show or 2017 Geneva Motor Show. It will compete with the likes of the Volkswagen up!, Opel/Vauxhall Adam, Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108.

Trivia: Topolino was actually the nickname of the first-generation Fiat 500, which was built from 1936 to 1955. Despite being the first, the model was actually bigger than its immediate successor. So much for “small mouse”…

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City Cars

New, 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio – a Cute Convertible for the World

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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio, convertible

The all-new, 2016 Smart Fortwo Cabrio has been revealed and — as a convertible — can open and close its top at the push of button.

The Fortwo Cabrio looks nearly identical to the Fortwo Coupe on which it is based but is distinguished by a smaller B-pillar and a “more progressive” tridion safety cell as a result of its topless composition. Available in three different colors (black, blue denim and red) and featuring a glass rear windscreen, its power retractable canvas roof can open in just 12 seconds, even when driving at freeway speeds.

ALSO CHECK OUT: This is the New Smart ForTwo and ForFour City Cars [Video]

The cute convertible comes standard with LED daytime running lamps, Bluetooth connectivity, power steering, power windows, automatic A/C, cruise control, an alarm, a multi-function steering wheel, and more.

European models are offered with two three-cylinder engines at launch, one producing 71 PS and 67 lb-ft. (91 Nm) of torque and the other making 90 PS and 99 lb-ft. (135 Nm). They can be paired with either a five-speed manual or an automatic twinamic dual clutch transmission.

In an effort to achieve the same level of safety as the coupe, Smart’s engineers increased the Fortwo Cabrio’s torsional strength by approximately 15 percent, applying chassis reinforcements that include a crossover bar, two torsional bulkheads and high-strength steel tubes in the A-pillars.

The new, 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio debuts at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show before going on sale in February 2016.

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City Cars

Yamaha Will Make Cars

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Yamaha Motiv Concept

Yamaha is looking to make cars… That’s right, the Japanese multinational corporation best known for its musical instruments, electronics, motorcycles and power sports equipment will enter the car business.

Speaking to the , Yamaha CEO Hiroyuki Yanagi expressed potential plans to build small cars for sale in Europe by 2019. The city cars might look similar to the Yamaha Motiv Concept (pictured above) that was show at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and will likely be offered with a petrol or electric motor.

Yanagi didn’t reveal specifics but expects power to be provided by a 1.0L petrol engine developed in-house. Europe was apparently chosen as a starting point because its cities offer the best layout and infrastructure for such a vehicle.

The idea of Yamaha making cars may sound strange, but the Japanese company has actually been in the car business for decades, having produced and sold engines to many of the world’s top automakers since 1955. It was even a coachbuilder for the first Nissan Silvia and Toyota 2000GT supercar.

AUTOTRIBUTE’S TAKE:

While Yamaha clearly has the knowhow to make a car, especially one as unsophisticated as a small city car, the automotive industry is so crowded and competitive that it will be difficult to find a footing. Not only will they compete against established automakers like Toyota and BMW, but they will also have to contend with the likes of Apple and Google, who all want a piece of the urban transportation space.

Additionally, making cars on is very expensive, meaning the company will need a partner to have any chance of succeeding. It needs to tread lightly…

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