When you think about a Toyota Yaris, you picture a solid, dependable hatchback that gets you from point A to B—or may even C, if you drive it right. But that only applies to the regular ol’ Yaris. On the other hand, there’s the souped up Toyota GR Yaris, a homologation special that was supposed to help the Japanese carmaker’s World Rally Championship team for 2021.
This special model features a 1.6 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine under the hood, with a total output of 261 PS at 6,500rpm and 360Nm of torque—and a 0–100km/h time of just 5.5 seconds, as reported by Paul Tan. So, how do you educate the public that the Yaris—or at least, the GR Yaris—isn’t the dependable, boring car that public perception (or at least, my impression) dictates?
You buy an ad, of course. A TV commercial that shows off the GR Yaris in all of its rally-rooted glory.
The ad stars three siblings who are rushing to their parents’ (in Yarises), and of course, most of them appeared to have forgotten about the appointment. The brother (Jack) is halfway through some work on his ST185 Toyota Celica when he receives a reminder from his sisters. Flustered about forgetting the appointment, he jumps right into his GR Yaris to meet them at their parents’.
To make up for lost time, Jack does a quick wheel spin as he leaves his garage, and he actually manages to beat his sisters to his parents’—and he even picks up an anniversary cake along the way. Showcasing the hot-hatch’s power under the hood (compared to the rest of the Yaris family, driven by his sisters).
Unfortunately, this little skid/slide has gotten Toyota into a little trouble with the Australian authorities. According to Car Expert, a complaint was made that “the commercial promotes speeding and may influence people to speed which is very dangerous”. Two points were raised: unsafe driving and breaking the speed limit.
In response, Toyota said that while taking the complaint “very seriously”, the ad does not go against the FCAI (Federal Chamber fo Automotive Industries Motor Vehicle Advertising Code) or any other laws and regulations. Ultimately, regulators found that the ad did not promote speeding, but Jack’s little tyre spin on the way out of his garage is considered to be “unsafe driving”.
As such, Toyota is going to have to take down and reshoot/repurpose/modify the commercial. But if you ask me, this has just given the ad—and the Toyota GR Yaris—even more spotlight than first anticipated by the Japanese carmakers.
Any publicity is good publicity, right?