After months of speculation that the new, 200kW all-wheel-drive Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch would be priced at above $50,000 in Australia, the Japanese brand had a surprise in store today in announcing that their Gazoo Racing Yaris – essentially a homologated rally car for the road – would be offered to Australians for $39,950 driveaway.
That price carries a catch, though: there’s some scarcity involved. Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley announced that the Toyota GR Yaris’s recommended retail price (RRP) was, in fact $49,500 – indicating a driveaway price of about $54,000 – but that the first 1,000 buyers of the GR Yaris in Australia would score the car for the far sharper price of $39,950 only.
The 2021 GR Yaris is the second ‘full’ Gazoo Racing product that Toyota has brought to the Australian market following the launch of the GR Supra in late 2019. However, whereas the Supra was a collaborative effort with BMW, and Toyota’s more affordable 86 coupe was a crossover with Toyota, the GR Yaris is a “100% Toyota” effort, Mr Hanley said.
That effort has resulted in a high-performance hatchback available only in an enthusiast-spec three-door body style, and only with a manual gearbox. Under the stubby bonnet sits the most powerful turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine the world has seen so far, making 200kw of power and 370Nm of torque, sent to the road via a permanent all-wheel-drive system. Toyota claims that the GR Yaris will clock the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.2 seconds.
Mr Hanley expects the first 1,000 units of the GR Yaris to come to Australia to last about 12-18 months. After the first thousand GR Yaris examples have been sold at the sub-forty grand price point, Toyota Australia will review the pricing strategy, with Hanley indicating a high likelihood that the price will increase.
The decision to substantially discount the price of the GR Yaris is what Mr Hanley calls a “long term investment” in the future of the Gazoo Racing brand in Australia. Toyota Australia believes that GR needs a big shove to become properly established in Australia, and according to Hanley, this circa-$10 million additional investment is all about getting cars on the road.
“[This investment] will equally accelerate the awareness and excitement around the GR brand by ensuring we have a substantial number of cars on the road,” said Mr Hanley, who compared the move to Toyota’s work in subsidising hybrid-powered cars earlier this century to get that technology embedded in the market.
Mr Hanley says that while the GR Yaris is sized like small hot hatches like the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Polo GTI, its specifications really see it competing with larger heavy-hitter hatches. Hanley specifically called out the Honda Civic Type R , Volkswagen Golf R and the RenaultSport Megane as key rivals for the new GR Yaris.
Initially, the GR Yaris will come to Australia only in ‘standard’ specification – but later, in an about-face on previous strategic announcements, Toyota Australia will also bring the up-spec GR Yaris Performance Pack to Australia carrying Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, front and rear Tosen mechanical limited slip differentials, Bilstein forged alloy wheels, and a track-honed suspension. The Performance Pack will be badged the GR Yaris Rallye in Australia in a nod to the World Rally Championship roots of this vehicle.
The high-spec Rallye will arrive in mid-2021, with initial Australian customer deliveries of the ‘standard’ GR Yaris model set to commence in around two months in November 2020.
Toyota GR Yaris 2021 Australian pricing
2021 GR Yaris: $49,500 ($39,950 driveaway)
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Toyota GR Yaris Rallye 2021 arrives in Australia with sharper handling, promotional driveaway pricing