Toyota Australia has confirmed it will bring a hybrid version of its top-selling HiLux ute and its LandCruiser four-wheel drive to the country in the future – but there’s not much chance we’ll see either for at least four years.
The brand is set to roll out an extensive array of hybrid models over the coming decade, which is expected to see hybrid models account for 40 per cent of Toyota sales by 2030 – and the HiLux and ‘Cruiser are important ingredients when it comes to that recipe.
The current Toyota HiLux range includes petrol and diesel power options, but there is no hybrid version of the pick-up truck anywhere in the world. But that is going to change, according to Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley.
When asked if Toyota would be the first company in Australia to offer a hybrid dual-cab ute, Mr Hanley said, “I can’t answer that because I don’t know what the others are doing!”
But he did make it clear that there is going to be a hybrid HiLux at some point.
“We don’t have any announcements on a hybrid ute today, but certainly we are looking at all those types of expansions going forward,” said Mr Hanley. “It’s unlikely to be this generation, given that it is mid-life.
“We’ve always maintained that whatever we do in the future, we will continue to have HiLuxes, we will continue to have LandCruisers going forward. And we will bring out – in the future – some type of electrification. There’s no doubt – we have to to meet targets,” he said.
Mr Hanley went on to say that rural customers aren’t the ones that will need to be won over when it comes to these sorts of commercial vehicles. In fact, he intimated that those who live outside the big cities are more likely to be interested in alternative-fuel versions.
“We are giving certainty to our rural customers that we will have capability (in those hybrid utes and off-roaders). Whatever we bring out, we will have the capability required to fulfil their requirements.
“These customers work the land – they know the environment and the requirements going forward. These people live and breathe the nutrients of the Earth. They’re all for reducing the CO2 footprint – so therefore it’s incumbent on us to be providing vehicles and mobility services in the future that suit their requirements,” said Mr Hanley.
The exact details are, understandably, still up in the air – but it is possible that we will see a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain used in the HiLuxes and LandCruisers of the future.
“Potentially,” said Mr Hanley when asked about diesel-hybrid. “We haven’t firmed up our product offering for the future, but potentially we could have hybrid diesels.”
We’re not just talking about the newer 200 Series LandCruiser, either. It is understood a hybrid version of that model will be on sale before 2025, with the Lexus LX equivalent confirmed to be on sale prior to then.
The LandCruiser 70 Series workhorse range is also in line for an electrified update at some point, with Mr Hanley stating that the 70 Series ute (and its derivative wagon and Troop Carrier models) are also candidates for more modern powertrains.
“It’s certainly part of our future. We’re definitely not sitting back here with any plan or thought that 70 Series won’t be part of our line-up in the future.”
Article Source: Cars Guide MagazineOctober 23, 2019 2:33 pm