DETROIT Jan 15 Japanese automakers are spicing
up their compact and subcompact lineups in the United States,
with Toyota Motor Corp's Furia concept car hinting at
more aggressive styling for the 2014 Corolla and Honda Motor Co
taking subcompact cars to the next level with its
Toyota, Japan's biggest automaker, gave a glimpse of what
the new Corolla, likely to go on sale later this year, could
look like when it unveiled the Furia concept sedan this week at
the Detroit auto show.
The orange Furia has an aggressive front face with sharply
angled headlights and a low center of gravity, design features
that already have been applied to some recent models like the
Avalon and the Auris hatchback and could help attract younger
"It's only a concept, but the Furia sends a clear message
where we are going in the future. Not only is the styling more
expressive, but also reflect our overall approach to the compact
segment in every way," Bill Fay, the group vice president and
general manager of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor Sales,
U.S.A., said on Monday.
The Corolla is Toyota's top-selling model globally and the
second most-popular Toyota vehicle in the United States after
the Camry. Toyota sold 290,947 Corollas in the United States in
2012, up 21 percent from a year earlier.
Honda unveiled a concept urban SUV that will share platforms
with the Fit subcompact car.
Honda has been vocal in its emphasis on small cars, aiming
to secure a quarter of its global sales with the Fit series by
the financial year ending March 2017. The Fit is also known as
Japan's third-biggest automaker, Honda aims to sell 6
million vehicles globally by March 2017, a jump from the current
4 million, and is set to start selling the remodeled Fit by late
2013 in Japan.
"There is no doubt that increasing fuel efficiency and
making cars smaller to cut materials and energy used to build
them is a trend in the auto industry," Honda Chief Executive
Takanobu Ito told reporters on Monday.
"The path that cars should take in the future cannot be
discussed without the development of small cars, and this is not
just for Honda."
The Fit-based SUV, which will be manufactured in Honda's new
Celaya plant in Mexico as well as in Japan and Asia, is set to
go on sale in Japan later this year and in the United States in
Nissan Motor Co, Japan's second-biggest automaker,
presented the Versa Note compact at the Detroit show on Tuesday.
The Versa Note, which is a hatchback companion to the Versa
sedan, is set to go on sale in the United States in the summer
with a starting price of $13,990. Nissan sold 113,327 Versa
vehicles in 2012 in the U.S. market, up 14 percent from a year
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