Starting in May 2013, The Toyota Yaris will be imported to North American markets from a factory in France.
Produced in northern France for the European market since 2001, this is the first Toyota to be produced in Europe and imported to North America.
The Yaris hatchback is a new model for 2012. The French factory will export about 25,000 cars annually to Canada, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In order to build cars to the unique tastes and legal requirements of those markets, the factory is being retrofitted. The North American cars have slightly different bumpers, the option of automatic transmissions, a unique 1.5-liter engine and other required safety features.
“This is not only an endorsement of the quality of the cars built by our team members here at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF), but it’s also a significant new business opportunity for our factory and further strengthens TMMF’s position as an important exporter in France,” TMMF president Makoto Sano said.
The strong yen has forced Japanese manufacturers to reconsider domestic car assembly in light of growing costs. Honda has gone so far as to sell Chinese-made Fits in Canada, but this is the latest evolution in that trend.