The Toyota Vitz is a line of three- and five-door hatchback subcompact cars produced since 1998 by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota.
The first generation XP10 series Toyota Vitz was designed by Sotiris Kovos at Toyota's ED2 studio in Europe.Production began in late 1998, with a Japanese on-sale date of January 1999; European sales commenced two months later as the "Toyota Yaris".When introduced to Australasia in October 1999, the "Toyota Echo" name was used,as was the case in Canada when released there in 2003. Often sold alongside the hatchback and marketed as a single line of vehicles, exterior panels common between the Vitz and Platz were restricted to the front doors.However, as Vitz and Platz were designed using the same platform, the mechanicals are largely identical and both share a common dashboard module. There was also a "Yaris Verso" or "Echo Verso" variant sold in some export markets from late 1999, based on the Japanese "Toyota Fun Cargo". The VersoMPV utilizes the same running gear as the Vitz, but features a more spacious interior.
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What became the XP10 series was shown earlier in concept form at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show. This concept, titled "Funtime" was developed under the leadership of Shuhei Toyoda, who also commissioned two additional models based on the same platform: the "Funcoupe" and the "Funcargo", the predecessor to the forthcoming production model Fun Cargo. Styled inBrussels by Toyota’s European Office of Creation (EPOC), the "Fun project" as it was known, was envisaged to underline the versatility of shared platform engineering. These concept vehicles morphed into the New Basic Car (NBC) program, with each separate NBC model designated a number, NBC1 in the case of the Vitz three-door.The name Vitz is the phonetic Anglicizedspelling of the German word Witz which means "wit" (however, its principal meaning in contemporary German is "joke"). Toyota claims the contrived name Yaris is "intended to convey a European impression", while Echo "is intended to Echo nothing."