Have You Ever Heard of These Toyotas?

Toyota_Vitz_TRD_Turbo_M_1

Do you recognize the logo in this picture?

Look close. You’ll see a familiar shape in the car but the logo itself is probably completely unknown.

For car people like you and me, seeing a logo on the road that isn’t instantly recognizable is a little jarring. Questions swirl in our heads. We wonder if a new brand has quietly been launched or if we’re spotting something rare and exotic.

This happened recently on the streets near my home but after some research I discovered the logo in question didn’t belong to anything exotic, but was a disguise for something far more common.

The Toyota Yaris is not an exotic car. Nor is the Toyota Vitz.

Seeing a Vitz on the roads in America isn’t a natural experience. In fact, most of us don’t even know what a Vitz is. I didn’t know until I saw one and then Googled it.

It turns out the Vitz is just a Yaris, but sold in Japan.

I don’t know how or why the Vitz I saw ended up on a quiet street in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t really matter. Seeing it made me wonder what other cars exist of which we are completely ignorant.

Toyota_century(VG40)

Have you ever heard of the Toyota Century? Also for the Japanese market, the Century has been in production since 1967 and remains a staple in executive transportation. The latest design update happened in 1997 and the car still holds much of its original design. But some change is coming, according to Car and Driver,

I hear that the Toyota Century luxury sedan, the epitome of conservatism and a favorite with traditionally minded top executives in Japan, will soon lose the hand-built 5.0-liter V-12 that produces up to 280 serene horsepower. Replacing the grand twelve will be a hybridized V-8. How vulgar, not to mention inappropriate, for a sedan that appears stuck in the late 1970s.

Fascinating. A throwback to ’70s luxury will get a modern hybrid V8, which would be a seriously cool car to show off here in the States.

Let’s hope the next unfamiliar logo to end up on these shores belongs to the elegant Century. We need this car here!

Have you ever seen a Toyota Vitz or Century in the United States?

-tgriffith

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