Toyota-badged Pontiac Vibes in Japan? Cue the skateboard music!

2002 Toyota Voltz advertisement

The Voltz “V” grille badge is the same shape as the Pontiac arrowhead emblem.

The Toyota-GM deal that resulted in the GM Fremont Assembly Plant in California becoming the home of NUMMI produced a lot of Corolla-based Chevy Novas, Geo/Chevy Prizms, and Toyota pickups during the 1984-2010 period. The Pontiac Vibe, mechanically similar to the Corolla-based Toyota Matrix and one of the final vehicles to bear the Pontiac name, was built by NUMMI as well… alongside a brief production run of a right-hand-drive version of the Vibe badged as the Toyota Voltz and exported to Japan.

Japanese car buyers could buy the Voltz at the youth-oriented Netz Store for the 2002 through 2004 model years, but— like the earlier Toyota Cavalier— the cute little Pontiac hatchback wasn’t big in Japan.

You’ve got angry-looking animated skateboarders and perky Japanese crypto-punk music playing, and the Vibe Voltz careens around town while the futuristic robo-boarders do what, presumably, the Toyota marketers felt would be youthful stuff. Note that the shape of the V emblem on the grille is about the same shape as the Pontiac arrowhead logo, which saved a few yen.

The Voltz ad is pretty frantic, but there was no topping the legendary tachycardic Toyota Starlet ads of the 1980s and 1990s.

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