Toyota’s first batch of rally-inspired GR Yaris hatchbacks is gone after less than a week.

    Pre-orders for the three-cylinder, three-door hot hatch yesterday closed on the Toyota Australia website, having opened at midday on Wednesday, September 23.

    The company hasn’t officially confirmed if the $39,950 drive-away price remains.

    Although dealers say the first 1000 cars were sold yesterday, CarExpert understands they have accepted orders at the drive-away price as recently as this morning – equivalent to a $14,000 discount.

    One source with knowledge of the situation said Toyota has sold its first allocation of cars, but hasn’t yet officially killed the drive-away deal. CarExpert understands dealers are still accepting orders at $39,950 drive-away because head office hasn’t yet ended the subsidy allowing them to honour the sharp sticker price.

    Toyota said the price will revert to $49,500 before on-road costs after the first 1000 cars were sold when it announced GR Yaris pricing.

    “Due to extraordinary demand, we have temporarily paused online sales of the all-new GR Yaris. Our dealers are continuing to take orders and can provide the latest information,” a Toyota Australia spokesperson told CarExpert.

    “We are confirming the total number of orders placed and will provide further information shortly.”

    Toyota says the first 250 examples were sold just 30 minutes after pre-orders opened, and 560 deposits were taken in the first 24 hours on sale. The demand saw the Toyota Australia website crash on launch day.

    “At midday I hit the ‘Preorder your Yaris’ button, only to have the site return a server error. I tried both devices and switched internet providers to no avail – obviously I wasn’t the only person attempting to nab one of the first 50 units and a year of heavily-discounted fuel,” one GR Yaris buyer told CarExpert.

    “I never expected I’d be in a frenzy to snap up a Toyota Yaris of all things. At 12:12 I tried the site on my mobile phone and succeeded in placing the order.”

    Set to touch down in November, the GR Yaris is the first homologation special from Toyota since the Celica GT-Four, and packs the world’s most powerful production three-cylinder engine under its compact bonnet.

    With 200kW of power and 370Nm of torque, a kerb weight of just 1280kg, and a rally-inspired all-wheel drive system, the GR Yaris will hit 100km/h in 5.2 seconds from standstill.

    There’s a significantly wider track than the standard Yaris, a bespoke suspension, and uprated brakes measuring 356mm up front and 297mm at the rear.

    more focused Rallye model will follow the regular GR Yaris in 2021, with a race suspension, locking differentials, 18-inch forged BBS alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, and red brake calipers.

    Why the bargain drive-away price? Toyota Australia says it’s using the Yaris as an “investment” in the Gazoo Racing brand, giving enthusiasts a chance to enjoy what vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley describes as a “performance thoroughbred”.

    “We want to excite as many fans as possible with a price that makes GR Yaris more appealing, and genuinely attainable,” Mr Hanley told media.

    Mr Hanley said the drive-away price will “accelerate the awareness and excitement around the GR brand by ensuring we have a substantial number of cars on the road”.

    Toyota is pushing to make the GR brand a “market-leading performance brand” in Australia, although it acknowledges that won’t happen overnight.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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