The Toyota brand has vast reach worldwide, particularly in Japan, where it controls half the market. Over the first ten months, production reached 8.8m vehicles, a gain of just one per cent. As ever though, the parent company Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has a game plan for growth, the key element of which is a new wave of replacement models and fresh entries to expanding segments.
Toyota has only been selling 660cc vehicles under its own brand for seven years and still it remains less than its usually assertive self in this class. Why? So as not to step on the toes of Daihatsu Motor Company, the small car specialist firm which it controls. The brand has only two models in the Kei class and each one is built by DMC: the Pixis Mega and Pixis Joy. They are due to be replaced in 2019/2020 by models on the same Daihatsu New Global Architecture.
The main city car sold by Toyota is Aygo. Part of a joint venture between Groupe PSA and Toyota Motor Europe (TME), the current Aygo is in its second generation. Production commenced at a plant in the Czech Republic in May 2014.
A few days ago, PSA and TME issued a media release stating that they will end their JV which builds the Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1. TME will take control of the plant in January 2021. It is not clear how long TME will manufacture the existing three cars 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.
In Asia, there is another A segment model, the Agya. This one is shared with DMC and manufactured at one of that firm’s Indonesian plants. The Daihatsu is called Ayla. Both it and the Agya were revealed to the public at the Jakarta motor show in September 2012 although production didn’t start until August 2013. In The Philippines, one of several export markets, the little Toyota is sold as the Wigo. The Agya/Wigo should be replaced in the third or fourth quarters of 2019.
The fourth generation Vitz/Yaris, coded 865A, is expected to appear first in Japan later this month. Build of the vehicle should be at the same locations as the current generation – i.e. Japan, France, Thailand, China and India. The car will use the B segment version of the TNGA global architecture. Why TMC has allowed the third generation model to have such a long life-cycle (eight years so far and longer as some plants will continue making it well into 2019) compared to previous cars is a mystery.
Another B segment vehicle will be a Suzuki-based car for India. SMC and TMC announced an agreement in March which will see the two companies collaborating in Suzuki’s number one market. The company will supply its Baleno and Vitara Brezza to Toyota, while Toyota will provide a version of the Corolla to Maruti Suzuki.
The Corolla has long been Toyota’s main vehicle in the global C or Compact class. A new model is right now being rolled out worldwide and after two generations of an Auris-badged model for Europe, that name is being retired and Corolla brought back. In addition to hybrid versions of the sedan, wagon and five-door hatchback for relevant regions, there will also be two plug-in hybrids for China. Why two? One each for the two main joint ventures, FAW Toyota and GAC Toyota. That’s also why both the Corolla and Levin names apply to the model there.
There will be facelifts for the new Corolla and its derivatives from early 2022 with the replacements beginning to arrive in some countries from the end of 2025. The next generation range will use an update of the TNGA-K architecture of today’s Corolla.
As TME has left the segment where the Avensis had been present for several generations and decades, the Camry is now the brand’s sole global model for D-sized or midsize cars. The car is to be reintroduced to Europe during 2019 but in hybrid form only. This brings the region into sync with Russia for the first time in many years too with the Camry also manufactured there.
As well as in St Petersburg, Toyota assembles or makes the car in Thailand, Vietnam and India with the major manufacturing plants being in the USA, Japan and China. Georgetown is the Camry’s real home, the Kentucky factory being Toyota’s biggest worldwide with annual capacity of 550,000 cars and 600,000 engines.
The ninth generation Camry uses TNGA-K, the same architecture as the Corolla, and was introduced in 2017 for North America’s 2018 model year. That means a facelifted model should debut for the 2021 model year to be followed by the tenth generation car in 2023.
Nowadays, Toyota has few vehicles in the Executive or E segment, the Avalon being one of the main models outside Japan, where of course the Crown series still rules. The latest 370B series model is a fresh design for the 2019 model year, the US being not only the main market but also where the car was developed and is manufactured. FAW Toyota will also build this model, its release in China due to take place during the first half of next year.
The Avalon is due to be refreshed for the 2022 model year and replaced in CY2024.
There are two main pick-ups. The Hilux is for most countries, with the North American region having its own alternative. The current shape Hilux is now three and a half years old and will likely be in production until 2026. It has already had one facelift, with another expected in 2022. The model uses the ladder frame IMV platform which was greatly overhauled for the present generation. There should be a fresh platform for the ninth generation model.
North America’s midsize pick-up is the Tacoma. It too was new in 2015, arriving at the start of that year. While the Hilux was developed in Thailand and Japan with a lot of input from engineers in the model’s largest market, Australia, the Tacoma is all-American. The team leading its development and life cycle changes are based at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There should be a facelift for this model in 2020 and a replacement in 2024. The next generation model will share a platform with the future Tundra.
Toyota’s largest pick-up truck is made in Texas, the same San Antonio plant also being one of the locations for Tacoma assembly. The Tundra is not nearly as successful as Toyota Motor Sales USA had hoped it would be, the big truck failing to make much of an impact on the established segment leaders: Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. As with the Nissan Titan, the problem is nothing to do with the vehicle itself, but simply a case of intense buyer loyalty to the US brands’ trucks.
The Tundra is almost 12 years old, which is another major issue for the model. The successor is now less than a year away. The next Tundra should gain a new frame and new engines. A hybrid variant is also expected. There have also been claims that a Cummins V8 diesel will be optional. The engine specialist already supplies Nissan with a 5.0-litre V8 for the Titan.
SUVs and crossovers
Toyota was a late comer to the booming B-crossover segment but its C-HR has made quite an impact since its arrival two years ago. The initials of this 4,350mm long model officially stand for Coupé High-Rider, Compact High-Rider and Cross Hatch-Runabout, Toyota claimed when launching this crossover in Japan in December 2016.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey’s Sakarya/Adaparazi factory builds the C-HR for not only Europe but also the USA, Canada, Taiwan, South Africa and Mauritius. TMMT, which additionally makes the Corolla, has an annual capacity of 280,000 vehicles. The car is also manufactured by Toyota Motor East Japan at its Iwate plant.
Each of TMC’s Chinese joint venture partners began building the C-HR in June. 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. At the same event, Toyota stated that a battery electric vehicle based on the C-HR and Izoa would be released in 2020. Toyota had exhibited the C-HR Hy-Power, a concept, at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2017.
TMMF’s Valenciennes plant will build a second TNGA vehicle, Toyota Motor Europe announced in January. TME did not state which model this will be but the C-HR (or possibly the RAV4) seems a strong possibility. As for the model’s production life, a facelift should take place in mid-2020 with a successor due in 2024.
The fifth generation RAV4 uses Toyota’s GA-K architecture. Its world debut took place at the New York auto show in March. In North America, the latest model is new for the 2019 model year. Sales commence this month, with the Hybrid to become available from January. A 5+2-seats variant to tackle the corresponding Honda CR-V is assumed to be in the pipeline.
In China, the old-shape RAV4 was part of the FAW Toyota joint venture but the new model will be built and sold by GAC Toyota too. One of the two will have a different model name and slightly altered styling.
The 310B series model should be in production until early 2026 although build of the sixth generation model should begin before then, probably from 2025.
The proposed TJ Cruiser would be an additional model, mainly for North America. Some believe it would be a ladder-frame SUV based on the FT-4X which was a concept that 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. In North America, this vehicle would replace the 4Runner as well as the discontinued FJ Cruiser. It would be sold against the Ford Bronco.
While the concept was FWD/AWD and used the TGNA platform, the TJ Cruiser will most likely have the body-on-frame architecture of the Tacoma pick-up. This means the new vehicle could be built at either Baja Caifornia or the forthcoming second Tacoma factory presently under construction in Mexico’s central state of Guanajuato. Production should commence in 2021 and last for up to a decade.
Some believe that the FT-4X and Tj Cruiser might instead have been previews of two future vehicles. Under that scenario, the first of the pair would be mainly for North America and have a body-on-frame construction while a vehicle based on the looks of the Tj would instead be front- and all-wheel drive and be aimed at the Japanese, Chinese and European markets.
The Highlander, which is sold as the Kluger in some countries, is due to be replaced during 2019. The fourth generation of this SUV, the model code of which is 440X, will likely appear at the New York auto show. The Hybrid should be revealed at the same time. These front- and all-wheel drive vehicles will be based on TNGA-K and be manufactured at the Prince, Alabama plant as well as by GAC/Guangqi Toyota in Guangzhou.
There are several models which are sold under the Land Cruiser banner, the largest of which has been around since 2007 and therefore overdue for replacement. Also known as the 200 Series, the new Land Cruiser is due out in 2021. The architecture will be a new body-on-frame design called TNGA-F and this will also be the basis of the 200 Series’ twin, the next generation Lexus LX.
The smaller Land Cruiser Prado has also been in production for a long time, the ninth anniversary of its market launch having passed a few months ago. It should be replaced in 2020 and use the TNGA-F platform. It is believed that Toyota will introduce a hybrid derivative for the first time in this long-running model series.
There are multiple people movers/MPVs available in Japan, such as the Estima, Esquire, Sienta, Vellfire, Noah and Voxy. Full details of these as well as guidance notes on replacements are available to view in PLDB (see link at bottom of page). On the other hand, Toyota has withdrawn MPVs and minivans from many countries but unlike Ford and GM, not from the USA. There, the Sienna still sells very well as a rival for the other major entrants, FCA’s Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan as well as American Honda’s Odyssey.
The next generation model (580X) is due out in 2020. Its development team is based in Ann Arbor. The platform is TNGA-K and the production life should extend from early 2020 to late 2028 with a facelift in the fourth quarter of 2024.
The first automated versions of the next generation 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.
Hybrids, EVs & PHEVs
The Prius is TMC’s best known hybrid model series, and the current car has just had a facelift. Over the last couple of years, sales have fallen away in the US states where the Prius used to sell extremely well. That is down to the shift towards SUVs and crossovers, low gasoline prices and, some say, the Prius’ love it or hate it looks.
The fifth generation Prius is due to appear in late 2021, with the PHEV/Prime variant to follow in 2022. Both should use an evolution of TNGA, the lightweight platform used for the fourth generation models. As per the existing models, the cars should be in production for six years, which will mean facelifts in 2024/2025.
Long reluctant to introduce a car to directly challenge the Nissan Leaf (due to TMC not seeing how it could make money out of such a vehicle), Toyota has now changed its mind. The company will launch a long-range EV in 2020. It will initially be sold in Japan, China, Europe, the US and Canada and should be able to travel beyond 300km/186 miles.
The market for sports cars is an especially tricky one for any mass maker. Just look at how long Nissan has kept the 370Z and GT-R in production, seemingly unable to make a rock solid business case for their replacements. TMC is not deterred, its motorsport enthusiast boss Akio Toyoda personally championing multiple new future models.
Toyota is reportedly working on a small rear-wheel drive sports car to sit below the 86/GT 86 – a revival of the MR-2 in some ways and a 4m long competitor for the Mazda MX-5. The S-FR (Sports, Front-engined, Rear-wheel drive) concept from October 2015’s Tokyo motor show might have been a preview of the thinking behind such a project. If the car’s development schedule is on track, market release would take place in late 2019 or early 2020.
There have been rumours that the replacements for the soon to be seven years old 86/GT86 and its twin the Subaru BRZ would use the same architecture as the Mazda Roadster/MX-5. The cars are now said to have been delayed until 2021. The 2.4-litre H4 engine which powers the Subaru Ascent will probably be available.
The Supra will finally make its global debut at the Detroit show in January, some six and a half years since TMC and BMW AG announced that they had set up a JV to develop two rear-wheel sports cars. While the Z4 is a roadster, the Supra will be a hatchback. Each uses an architecture and engines developed by BMW. The life cycle should be seven years, which means a facelift in 2023.
Sitting way above the Supra in terms of pricing will be the GR Supersport. This supercar should be similar to the Gazoo Racing Super Sport. The company strongly hinted at this in a short statement to the media at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June this year. GR is 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. Expect a limited production run to commence in 2020.
Recent reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future product program intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming Toyota models as well as additional vehicles which are not in the feature above can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.
Lexus models will be the subject of the second part of this look into the future model plans of Toyota Motor Company, to be followed by Perodua and Daihatsu.