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JAPAN: Toyota's new US youth brand to have three to four models<BR>03 Jan 2002 <BR>Source: Reuters<BR> <BR>TOKYO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's planned third brand aimed at the youth market in the United States will likely consist of three to four subcompact models, a business daily said on Thursday.<P>Quoting unidentified company sources, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said the models, which would be exported from Japan, would feature 1.5- to 1.8-litre engines.<P>A new car that uses the same base as Toyota's Vitz/Yaris/Echo subcompact which will be launched in Japan this year, as well as its boxy "bB" subcompact van, will be among the offerings, the paper said.<P>It did not give a timeframe for the U.S. launch of the vehicles but said some of models are expected to be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show which opens on Sunday.<P>Officials from Japan's top car maker were not immediately available to comment on the report.<P>Toyota, which sells vehicles in the world's biggest market under the Toyota brand and the Lexus luxury brand, is in the final stages of picking a name for the youth-oriented nameplate.<P>The new vehicles under the third brand would be designed to appeal to young buyers who desire space for their friends and sports equipment and the chance to personalise their vehicles, but don't want to drive the same vehicles as their parents.<P>Toyota has said it will not create a new dealership group with the new brand, as it did when it started Lexus more than 10 years ago. But buyers taking delivery of their vehicles would be ushered into a separate retail area at the dealerships with its own unique environment to appeal to younger buyers.<P>Toyota management in the United States recognised years ago the difficulty of tapping younger buyers, and established a high-profile group, called "Genesis," of mostly 30- and 40- year-olds charged with reshaping Toyota's image.<P>But the cars that Toyota has launched to appeal to a new generation of buyers have had limited success. Sales of the Echo subcompact, the MR2 Spyder mid-engine two-seater and the Celica sports coupe are all down 12 percent or more in the United States to the end of November last year, more than the market average and most other Toyota passenger cars.<P>Toyota's U.S. sales were up 7.5 percent to 1.59 million vehicles to the end of November. <BR> <BR>
 
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