You have to be an emperor to have one of these

You have to be an emperor to have one of these

Toyota Motor Corporation has never been stronger. Profits are sky-high, brand image is excellent and the company keeps expanding the Toyota model range, especially in North America and China. A major shift is also taking place as plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles are added to a line-up which once contained next to none of either. 


There are three mini-vehicles sold in Japan, each one supplied by Daihatsu. Full details of the Pixis Mega, Pixis Epoch and Pixis Joy can be found in PLDB via the link at the bottom of this report.

A segment

Toyota Motor Europe's Aygo is now more than five years old. The most recent update was a facelift, revealed at the 2018 Geneva motor show. As well as the restyle, emissions and power of the 998cc three-cylinder engine were improved as it became Euro 6.2-compliant.

Exactly one year ago, Groupe PSA and Toyota Motor Europe issued a media release stating that they would end their JV which builds the Aygo, 108 and C1. TME will take control of the plant in January 2021. It is not clear how long the existing three cars will be manufactured for and whether or not there will be replacements for any of them. The previous generation models were built for nine years. In January 2021, the Aygo, 108 and C1 will have been in production for six and a half years.

A potential replacement for the Aygo could become a crossover in the style of the Renault Kwid. The question remains though, what TME will do with the two thirds of the Kolin plant's 300,000 per year capacity that it will suddenly have once production of the 108 and C1 stops.

B segment

The fourth generation Yaris, coded 865A, was announced to the media in October, roughly a month before its public premiere at the Tokyo motor show. One major change is the standardisation of the Yaris name, 'Vitz' being dropped in Japan for this generation. Sales commence there in February but Toyota Motor Europe will not begin selling the car until August.

The Yaris will be sold mainly as a 1.5-litre petrol-electric powertrain, although 1KR 1.0-litre and M15A 1.5-litre petrol engines will also be available in certain countries. The 1.0-litre cars are front-wheel drive but those powered by a M15A engine can be ordered with all-wheel drive, in Japan at least. Build should be at the same locations as the current generation of the model - i.e. France, Thailand, Japan, China and India. This will be the first model for the B segment version of the TNGA global architecture.

In the USA, the Yaris continues to be a couple of different cars: a sedan and hatchback made in Mexico and supplied by Mazda, both bodies being versions of the Mazda2.

TKML, Toyota's JV with India's Kirloskar Group, is said to be planning to manufacture a highly fuel efficient 'family car' which will reportedly be marketed as the country's safest model in the B segment. Daihatsu is said to be leading development in partnership with TMC and TKML. Logic suggests this would also be the Etios successor.

In September, TMC (Toyota Motor Corporation) told the media that TDB (Toyota do Brasil Ltda) would bring a new locally manufactured model to the market in 2021. It is presumed that this will be a successor for the local market's Etios. At the moment it is unclear whether the car will be seen for the first time in 2020 or 2021 (i.e. Indian production may commence in 2020 as the current model dates to 2010).

C segment

The twelfth generation Corolla and its Levin derivative use GA-C, a version of the TNGA family of platforms. In Japan, the five-door car is sold as the Corolla Sport. In Europe, there are Corolla five-door hatchback and Touring Sports (wagon) bodies as well as a sedan. The last of those three is the main body style for North America, although the hatchback is available too. The current shape range was new there for the 2019 model year, going on sale from July 2018. In Japan, the estate is called Corolla Touring. As had been and continues to be the case with so many cars built and sold in Japan, the Corolla range for the home market looks similar to overseas models but each body style is narrower and shorter. Wheelbases also differ.

In November 2018, Toyota stated that it would refit its Indaiatuba plant in Brazil to manufacture the new Corolla, production being due to commence in 2020. Later the same month, the Corolla and Levin sedans for the Chinese market were exhibited for the first time at the Guangzhou motor show. North America's Corolla sedan then had its regional premiere a few days later at the LA auto show. Toyota said on the eve of AutoGuangzhou that in China, the "start of sales" for the Corolla and Levin would be "after mid-2019". Sales commenced in August.

Toyota Motor Europe revealed two more variants at the Geneva motor show in March: the Corolla GR Sport (not available until January) and an estate with raised suspension, the Corolla Trek (deliveries commenced in August).

The Corolla range is due to be facelifted in late 2021. The thirteenth generation will be launched in 2025.

The fifth generation Prius is due to appear in late 2021, with the PHEV variant to follow in 2022. Both should use an evolution of TNGA, the lightweight platform used for the fourth generation models.

E segment

At one time the Camry was firmly in the Midsize/D segment category but no more: the ninth generation model is five metres long. This GA-K architecture sedan went on sale first in Japan (July 2017 as a hybrid) followed soon after by North America, Australia and other markets. The car itself had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January 2017. Build in Russia did not commence until April 2018.

The latest model was the first Toyota to feature the 2.5-litre engine which TMC announced to the media in December 2016. There is also a 3.5-litre V6. This is especially interesting given that Honda developed its rival latest generation Accord (new for North America's 2018 model year) without an equivalent option. Roughly 10 per cent of Toyota Motor Sales USA's Camry buyers opt for the six-cylinder engine.

Georgetown, in the US state of Kentucky, commenced series production of the Camry 9 in June 2017. TMMK (Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.) is the largest manufacturing plant in TMC's worldwide network. The site has an annual capacity of 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines.

Toyota Motor Sales USA announced the availability of all-wheel drive for the Camry and Avalon earlier in November. This was just ahead of the LA auto show. The larger of the two cars will not gain the AWD option until the 2021 model year, while the AWD Camry is new for the 2020 model year.

There should be a mid-life facelift for the Camry in June 2020 (2021MY in the US, Canada and Mexico) with the tenth generation expected in CY2023.

The Crown Concept which debuted at the Tokyo motor show in October 2017 was a preview of the fifteenth generation Crown. The production model was announced by Toyota in June 2018. There are three powertrains for the Japanese market:

  • 8AR-FTS, a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with an eight-speed gearbox and rear-wheel drive
  • A25A-FXS, 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid Dynamic Force Engine, RWD or AWD
  • 8GR-FXS, 3.5-litre V6 hybrid, RWD

There should be a facelift in 2021 with the sixteenth generation Crown expected to be announced for the Japanese and Chinese markets in 2024/2025.

The Avalon is the other main Toyota in the E segment. As with the Crown, this car is for China, although not for Japan. The US is the Avalon's other big market. Like the closely related Camry and Lexus ES, this big sedan is based on GA-K, or Toyota New Generation Architecture 'K' size models. The only engine is TMC's 2GR-FKS series 3.5-litre V6, although there is another unit in the Avalon Hybrid. Unlike the hybrid, which has a CVT, the V6 is linked to UA80E, which is the code for an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. China's FAW Toyota joint venture put the Avalon into production in March. The life cycle should last until early 2024.

F segment

Kanto Auto Works (Toyota Motor East Japan Inc.) has been building a model called Century for Toyota since 1967. The current car, which is only the third Century, is the largest and most expensive Toyota sedan. This 5,335mm long limousine is powered by TMC's 2UR-FSE 4,968cc petrol V8 and one motor. The previous model had a V12. Production, which commenced in mid-2018, will likely last until the late 2020s, possibly longer.

In July 2018, Toyota Motor East told the Japanese media that the Susono factory would be closed during fiscal 2020 and that production of some of the models made there - Century, Porte, Spade and JPN Taxi - would be shifted to other plants.

The most recent news for the Century was a one-off convertible. Commissioned for the coronation of Japan's emperor Naruhito earlier this month (see image), the vehicle will likely next be seen during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.


For details of the Hilux/HiLux and Tacoma, see PLDB.

The next Tundra is due to gain new engines, including, most likely, a hybrid or PHEV option. It is not clear why Toyota has kept the current model in production for so long: it dates to 2007. Expect the 954A Tundra to be new for the 2022 model year.

MPVs/Minivans (and an Uber robo-Sienna)

As part of a far-reaching extension of their collaboration, Suzuki and Toyota told the media in March that one of their future projects would be "Drawing upon Suzuki's expertise in developing vehicles in India, joint development of a Toyota C-segment MPV and OEM supply to Suzuki". This vehicle is likely to appear in late 2021.

As part of TMC and SMC's extended agreement, a Toyota-badged vehicle based on the Ertiga MPV (and a model based on the Ciaz) would be supplied to Toyota's Indian market dealers. Each will also be exported to certain African countries, as will Toyota-badged versions of the Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Suzuki Baleno.

TMS USA's largest minivan is due to be replaced next year. The chief engineer for the 580X Sienna is based in the US, not Japan. The Avalon, Tacoma and Tundra were, are, or will be the other models developed at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There will also be an electrified version.

The first automated versions of the Sienna are due to be delivered to Uber for testing in 2021 as per an August 2018 agreement and media announcement. TMC stated at the same time that it would spend US$500m buying shares in Uber.

Crossovers & SUVs

There is a Toyota equivalent of Daihatsu's new Rocky called Raize. Both are manufactured in Japan at Daihatsu's Shiga plant. Each was announced for the Japanese market earlier in November. This 4m long SUV can be ordered with 1.0-litre turbo (code: 1KR-VET) or 1.5-litre atmo petrol engines.

The rumoured TJ Cruiser will likely be a ladder-frame SUV based on the FT-4X, a concept which premiered at the 2017 New York auto show. There was a second take on the idea of this model with the Tj Cruiser premiering as a concept at the 2017 Tokyo motor show. Toyota said the initials were short for Toolbox Joy. The TJ would be the effective replacement for the FJ Cruiser and a rival in North American markets for the Ford Bronco.

The fifth generation RAV4, 310B, uses the GA-K architecture. Its world debut took place at the New York auto show in March 2018. In North America, the current model was new for the 2019 model year. Sales commenced in December 2018, with the Hybrid added in early 2019.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) is Toyota's North American hub for certain sports utility vehicles, with a line-up consisting of the Lexus RX at Cambridge and the RAV4 at both Cambridge and Woodstock. So as to build the generation five RAV4, Cambridge North had significant amounts of money spent on it. Much of this was to make the plant compliant with the needs of manufacturing TNGA vehicles.

As part of TME's plans to end the use of the fuel in most of its passenger vehicles, there is no diesel RAV4. The RAV4 wasn't available in Japan until April, at which point TMC also stated that production also takes place at two home market plants: Nagakusa and Takaoka. A seven-seat variant to tackle the corresponding Honda CR-V is assumed to be in the pipeline for introduction in 2020. Both models are due for a facelift in 2023 with replacements due in 2026.

The Wildlander is a special SUV for the Chinese market. Manufactured by the GAC Toyota joint venture, this model is closely linked to the RAV4, that model being one of FAW Toyota's. Volkswagen does something similar with altered versions of key cars and SUVs for both of its main partners: FAW and SAIC.

GAC Toyota will beging selling the Wildlander in a few days' time. The vehicle itself has quite a lot of exterior changes compared to the RAV4 too. A 170HP naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine is the standard powertrain, linked to a CVT. There is also a Wildlander Hybrid (see PLDB for details).

The fourth generation Highlander (Kluger in some markets) is due to be in US dealerships in December for the 2020 model year. Its public premiere took place at the New York auto show in April. The US should be the largest market. There, the standard engine is a 295hp 3.5-litre V6 linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Both seven- and eight-passenger layouts are available.

The Highlander Hybrid follows in February. The powertrain consists of a 179kW (240hp) 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and two motors. Unlike the model it replaces, this one can also be ordered in two-wheel drive form.

The next Land Cruiser 200 Series (700B) should arrive in 2021. It will once again have a body-on-frame construction. The replacement for the Lexus LX will be closely related to this vehicle: the current models are twins and that should continue to be the case for their next generations.

The Sequoia, another big ladder-chassis model, is way overdue for replacement as it dates to the USA's 2008 model year. The just-announced 2020 range is more or less carried over although a TRD-Pro variant is added.

The next Sequoia had been expected for the 2021 model year but it might be delayed further and not launched until CY2021 or even 2022. Production will again take place in Princeton, Alabama. The platform should shift over to the far more modern TNGA-F.


A so-called 'City EV' is now fewer than 10 months away from launch. This electric two-door, two-seat hatchback will initially be for Japan only. It can be thought of as the successor to the i-Road. Toyota revealed an image of a prototype at an event in June. Four months later, the car was displayed at the Tokyo motor show. The model name is not yet known.

Each of Toyota's Chinese joint venture partners began building the C-HR in June 2018. FAW Toyota makes the C-HR and Guangqi Toyota calls its slightly modified version the Izoa. Each was exhibited at AutoChina (bienniel Beijing motor show) in April 2018. At the same event, Toyota stated that a battery electric vehicle based on the C-HR and Izoa would be released in 2020. One year later, prototypes of the C-HR EV and Izoa EV were exhibited at the Shanghai motor show with 2020 confirmed as the release date for each. The production plants are yet to be named.

TMC told the media in July that it had "signed an agreement for the joint development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs)" with BYD Company Ltd. The firms will "jointly develop sedans and low-floor SUVs as well as the onboard batteries for these vehicles and others with the aim to launch them in the Chinese market under the Toyota brand in the first half of the 2020s". Further details of the specifics of the future BYD-Toyota vehicles are awaited.

Toyota and Subaru issued a media statement in June which announced the development of a dedicated architecture for battery-electric vehicles. This platform will be for models in the C, D, and E segments. The first of these will be all-wheel drive Compact SUVs for the Subaru and Toyota brands. Neither company has confirmed any other models for this architecture, although Toyota at least might well create a Camry-sized electric car should the company see possible demand for such a vehicle.

Toyota revealed clay mock-ups of six proposed EVs at a presentation called Aiming to Popularize BEVs on 7 June. The half dozen were a large SUV, a medium SUV, a medium crossover, a medium minivan, a medium sedan and a compact.

China's GAC Toyota joint venture launched the iA5 in September. The 4,792mm long five-door hatchback is a fresh body on GAC's Aion S. The original has been around since May. GAC Toyota quotes an identical 510km range for the iA5, while the CATL-supplied battery pack has an output of 58.8kWh. Power and torque are also the same as the original: 135kW and 300Nm. The car has GAC logos on its front and rear but a GAC Toyota badge appears on the bottom left corner of the boot lid.

Gazoo Racing: sports cars

At the moment, there are only two models for GR, the Japan-only Copen, a tiny convertible based on the Daihatsu of the same name, and the Supra. Next year we'll see a successor for the 86, which will have Gazoo Racing badging worldwide. The second generation will again be a JV with Subaru with both this model and the follow-up to the BR-Z to be manufactured at the smaller firm's Gunma Main plant. The 2.4-litre H4 engine from the Subaru Ascent should be under the bonnet of both cars.

The other GR model due out next year - although some say it could be delayed until 2021 - is tentatively called 'Super Sport'. The company strongly hinted at this in a short statement to the media at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2018. GR would employing "cutting-edge hybrid electric systems and fuel efficiency technologies" to develop the vehicle which was previewed by the Super Sport, a prototype which premiered in early 2018 at the Tokyo auto salon.

More details of GR models can be found in both PLDB and in this recent feature.


Some thought that the replacement for the Mirai had been previewed by the Fine-Comfort Ride, a concept which debuted at the 2017 Tokyo motor show. This vehicle was claimed to have a range of up to 1,000km from its supply of hydrogen, with refuelling taking just three minutes. Instead, the next Mirai was heralded by a 4,975mm long concept of that name which premiered at the recent Tokyo show. This supremely elegant car is "...scheduled for launch starting in late 2020, initially in Japan, North America and Europe".

Speaking at aministerial meeting on hydrogen energy in Tokyo in September 2019, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada stated that a successor for the Mirai would be announced in 2020.

Back in January 2013, TMC and BMW AG agreed to share their technologies and to jointly develop a fundamental fuel cell vehicle system. This, the companies stated, would include not only a stack but also a hydrogen tank, motor and battery, aiming for completion in 2020. BMW is said to be developing a car which shares much with the successor for the Mirai.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE. That includes the many Toyota models which were not discussed in the above report.

This was the first of three features in a series examining the current and future models of Toyota Motor Corporation's passenger vehicle brands. The second one will look at Daihatsu and Perodua, with Lexus the topic of the final report.