If you’ve never heard of the Ativ name before, we don’t blame you. Toyota uses it for the current-generation Vios in Thailand. That’s to distinguish it from the previous-generation model, which is still sold there as, well, the Vios. Quite confusing, no doubt. But to clear things up, the Vios sold and assembled locally in the Philippines is called the Yaris Ativ over in the Land of Smiles.
So, why are we bringing up the Ativ name all of a sudden? Well, that’s because Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has filed a patent to use “ATIV” locally. According to the application, the patent was only filed earlier this year – March 4, 2021, to be exact. Unfortunately, there are no other details about the patent apart from its status, which is currently “awaiting payment of publication fee”.
This then begs the question, will we see TMP begin using the Ativ name locally? Toyota already sells the popular subcompact sedan as the Vios. It wouldn’t make sense to suddenly change the name of the model to match that of Thailand's. More importantly, the name “Vios” has become a household name already.
One probable reason is that TMP will use it for a special edition model of the Vios locally. Using the Ativ name for a new variant makes more sense rather than renaming the model altogether. However, the automaker did launch the Vios GR-S earlier this year. And by adding one more variant to the Vios lineup, would expand the range even further.
It is also possible TMP is saving the Ativ name. Doing so ensures no one else in the country uses it. As mentioned in past articles, automakers do file for patents on nameplates even if they have no current plans for the model. The main reason being is to prevent others from using it.
Still, we’ll be keeping an eye out whether TMP has surprises in store for us this year.