Toyota Australia's decision to launch the redesigned RAV4 with a diesel engine option has resulted in 30% of orders being for models with the 2.2-litre turbodiesel compared with the long term forecast of 20%.

The diesel is available only with all-wheel drive (AWD) and has accounted for 46% of AWD sales.

Local new vehicle trade group FCAI last month highlighted "strong sales of small SUVs in March 2013, with monthly sales of 7,541 up by 41.3% (2,205 vehicles) compared to 2012".

Toyota Australia's sales and marketing chief Tony Cramb said: "Diesel SUV sales rose 37% last year, so the introduction of the RAV4 turbo-diesel has enabled Toyota to compete for the first time in this growth area of the medium SUV segment."

Local engineers had worked with the parent company in Japan to achieve an increase in the RAV4 diesel's official braked towing capacity to 1,000kg from July production.

Cramb added: "Customers say they particularly like the new tailgate that opens upwards and the relocation of the spare wheel and tyre from the back door to under the cargo floor."

Dealers were selling a "richer model mix than planned" with top-spec Cruiser AWD variants accounting for 19% of sales - almost double the level expected.

The id-range GXL was running at almost 40% - about 10% higher than forecast.

Entry-level GX was also nudging 40% compared with early expectations it would account for at least 60% of total sales.

Show the press release

                                 RAV4 DIESEL SALES SURGE

The introduction of diesel power for the new-generation Toyota RAV4 has led to a sales surge that has exceeded the company's expectations.

RAV4 variants fitted with Toyota's 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine have accounted for almost 30 per cent of the new model's total sales compared with the long term forecast of 20 per cent.

The diesel is available in all-wheel drive (AWD) guise only and has been responsible for almost half of the new RAV4's AWD sales - 46 per cent.

Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the figures demonstrated the appeal of the turbo-diesel engine for RAV4 customers wanting both performance and fuel economy.

"Diesel SUV sales rose 37 per cent last year, so the introduction of the RAV4 turbo-diesel has enabled Toyota to compete for the first time in this growth area of the medium SUV segment," Mr Cramb said.

"Even better, Toyota Motor Corporation has just approved an increase in the RAV4 diesel's official braked towing capacity to 1,000kg* from July production.

"Our engineers here in Australia have worked closely with their counterparts in Japan to secure this increase.

"This change can only broaden the RAV4's overall appeal.

"Dealers are reporting that RAV4 buyers have been particularly attracted to the new model's dynamic exterior design, describing it as 'stylish and contemporary'," Mr Cramb said.

"Customers say they particularly like the new tailgate that opens upwards and the relocation of the spare wheel and tyre from the back door to under the cargo floor.

"They have also commented on RAV4's more dynamic drive with new technologies such as the Dynamic Torque Control AWD and enhancements in suspension performance."

Mr Cramb said Toyota had increased its supply of diesel variants following early reports from dealers that demand was likely to be higher than expected.

He said dealers were also selling a richer model mix than planned, with top-spec Cruiser AWD variants accounting for 19 per cent of sales - almost double the level expected.

Mid-range GXL was running at almost 40 per cent - about 10 per cent higher than forecast.

Entry-level GX was also nudging 40 per cent compared with early expectations it would account for at least 60 per cent of total sales.

Turbo-diesel RAV4 variants are listed from $35,490^ - a keener price than most diesel rivals in its segment.

The overall range starts from $28,490^ for the two-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol GX manual.

RAV4 is covered by the capped-price Toyota Service Advantage at a maximum of $170 per service^^.

Original source: http://toyota.pressroom.com.au/press_release_detail.asp?clientID=2&prID=5019&navSectionID=2