If there's one model that our market is very receptive to, it's the Vios. Despite the rise of crossovers, the Vios still stands as a very popular model in the Philippines; the default choice by many for a first small car.
The Vios we have now has been around for a while; the current generation of the Vios (XP150) has been in production since 2013. The 2018 model (the current look) is actually a facelift, albeit a rather thorough one.
Now we've got a next-generation Vios coming soon. Last year, we learned that the full model change (FMC) Vios is planned for a launch in August 2022. Given that a lot has happened since we first learned of it in October 2020, we thought an update is in order.
According to our sources in the region that are very familiar with Toyota's internal production schedules, it seems that the plans haven't been delayed for the Vios. The updated information we received is that the Thailand-market Vios (AKA: Yaris Ativ) is still slated for August 2022. That's good news then, as by that time hopefully, issues like the pandemic and the semiconductor shortage are things of the past... fingers crossed.
The vehicle code for the fourth generation Yaris Ativ/Vios will also be D92A according to our source, which is a departure from the “XP” code that Toyota has used for the model through the first three generations of the nameplate. The significance of the code is important: the D likely signifies the use of the Daihatsu counterpart to the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA). Unsurprisingly, it's called Daihatsu New Generation Architecture or DNGA.
The platform is significant because it represents a new generation model; meaning we will see and feel a lot of TNGA-style improvements with the way the vehicle drives with savings in weight, enhancements in rigidity, and much better crash safety.
The other update we received is that there is a hybrid version of the Yaris Ativ/Vios in the works. Our contacts say that the hybrid version will follow the regular petrol engine versions for a release a year later: in August 2023.
We have no clue regarding the power unit yet, but we expect it to be a development of the 1.5-liter hybrid drive in the Toyota Prius c/Acqua. This would follow the strategy of Toyota with the Corolla Cross Hybrid and Corolla Altis Hybrid; both these models use the 1.8L hybrid drive system from the Prius. If Toyota does it for the Philippine market as well, it could become the most affordable hybrid vehicle in their lineup.
There is an important point to mention here: the Vios is a locally-built model in the Philippine market. We expect a significant amount of upgrades to the factory in Santa Rosa, Laguna to manufacture with the TNGA/DNGA platform that uses more high-strength steel. And if they do push with the hybrid, that could mean Toyota will be the first manufacturer here to build a hybrid here.
Right now, that's mostly conjecture, but we're sure we'll learn more in the coming year or so.