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Toyota's New-Concept 'Echo' Designed for Youth Appeal

16 December 1998

Toyota's New-Concept 'Echo' Designed for Youth Appeal From the Inside, Out
    TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 15 -- Its name is "ECHO," and it will
take a road less traveled to appeal to the unique demands of young new-car
buyers when it arrives in Toyota dealerships next fall.
    "ECHO was designed to be simple, functional and affordable, while
delivering a level of comfort and driveability that is one-class-up from what
consumers expect from an entry-level sedan," said Jim Press, Toyota senior
vice president of automotive operations, who will unveil the new car at a
world premiere press conference at the North American International Auto Show
in Detroit on, January 4.
    "ECHO will be offered in both two- and four-door models.  It will be
price-positioned substantially below the Toyota Corolla, yet it will offer
approximately the same amount of passenger volume."
    ECHO was designed for strong youth appeal from the inside, out, with
interior styling and roominess that clearly departs from convention.  Most
noticeable is its unique instrument cluster, which is center-mounted, high on
the dash, rather than directly in front of the driver.  Because of the greater
distance from the driver's eyes to the instruments, refocusing between the
road and the display takes less time.  The driver can retrieve information
quicker, and there is less eye stress and strain.
    ECHO will offer compact roominess in a subcompact package.  Its high roof
provides exceptional headroom and allows for a more upright seating position,
resulting in reduced driver fatigue and better visibility.  The interior
combines the low floor height of a sedan with the high seating position of an
SUV or minivan, which greatly enhances ingress/egress.
    ECHO will be powered by an all-new engine featuring variable-valve timing
(VVT-I) cylinder head technology.  Similar in design to the VVT-I systems
available on Lexus products, the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine will deliver
an exceptional blend of power and fuel economy and will be EPA-certified as a
vehicle (LEV).