Toyota has started Argentine production of a new generation Hilux pick-up at its Zarate plant, writes Rogério Louro Alves.

The latest model is restyled with new engines: a 2.7-litre 16-valve 142 bhp petrol unit, a 90bhp three-litre diesel and a 116bhp three-litre. The previous model, built in Argentina since May 1997, came only with a 77bhp three-litre diesel.

The new pick-up offers the choice of single or double cabs and two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

The Hilux engines are imported from Japan and 40 percent of the remaining components come from Brazil.

Toyota expects to produce more than 20,000 pick-ups in the Zarate plant this year, up from last year's 17,300.

The company plans to increase both local sales and exports. Currently, about 40% of Hilux production is shipped to Brazil but Toyota wants to boost this to 60%.

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