Toyota, Honda spice up small cars for the US market


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 Fit-based SUV.

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 buyers.

"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, USA., 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 the Jazz.

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.

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