• Kyodo, Bloomberg

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The Pixis Space, the first minivehicle under the Toyota brand, went on sale Monday at Corolla and Netz dealerships across the country.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s foray into the strong minivehicle market is aimed at raising sales in a sluggish domestic market.

The minivehicle, based on Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Move Conte, represents the first vehicle supplied by the group automaker to Toyota under an original equipment manufacturing agreement reached in September 2010, it said.

Toyota sold about 528,000 vehicles supplied by Daihatsu, the nation’s biggest minicar maker, in Japan last year.

The Pixis Space will be assembled at Daihatsu’s factory in Kyushu.

Overall, Toyota plans to introduce three minicar models.

The company decided to launch a minivehicle because of strong demand from affiliated dealerships to have such a car in its lineup.

The Pixis Space will sell for ¥1.12 million and gets 25.5 kpl, the company said.

Honda updates scooters

Kyodo

Honda Motor Co. said Monday it has developed fuel-efficient engines for scooters and midsize motorcycles to expand global sales.

Honda, which aims to expand scooter sales in Southeast Asia, the world’s biggest two-wheel vehicle market, said it improved the fuel economy of the engine that runs its 125cc scooters by about 25 percent compared with conventional engines.

The new engine is also capable of being mounted on a variety of scooters with different wheel sizes, has better durability and is quieter, Honda said. The company plans to launch the engine globally from 2012.

Honda aims to produce more than 1 million of the engines for 125cc scooters, betting that demand will grow in Southeast Asia, Europe and Japan.

The new engine for midsize motorcycles with displacement of 500cc to 750cc gets better than 27 kpl — an improvement of about 40 percent over other sports models in its class, Honda said.

Honda plans to manufacture the engine for midsize motorcycles at its plant in Kumamoto Prefecture and ship finished motorcycles to overseas markets, Honda Senior Managing Officer Tatsuhiro Oyama said.

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