Toyota has launched simultaneously in Argentina and Brazil a new Hilux SW4 SUV, a model that is known in Thailand as the Fortuner.

This is the third Argentine-made model from Toyota’s IMV Project (Innovative Multipurpose Vehicles) for emerging markets.

In March, Toyota introduced the Argentine-made Hilux single cab and double cab pickup models.

The introduction of the Hilux SW4 SUV completes Toyota’s $US200 million investment to produce three IMV Project models in South America.

The main investment was made in the Argentine Zárate plant, where the IMV vehicles are assembled, but the São Bernardo do Campo components factory in Brazil also received some investment to produce parts to feed the Argentine line.

Toyota Mercosul president Hiroyuki Okabe said the company has no plans to produce the MPV (minivan) variant of the IMV Project, the Innova, in South América, nor the ‘extra cab’ variant of the Hilux pickup.

“We considered the best options for Latin America consumers and decided to make make three models, Hilux single cab, Hilux double cab and Hilux SW4 SUV”, added Okabe.

Now, Toyota is investing over $US61 million to increase capacity at Zárate from 45,000 to 60,000 units a year. The company is also investing $US9 million at São Bernardo do Campo.

Toyota expects to produce about 15,000 units of the SW4 SUV next year.

“We will export 80% of production. About 10,000 units will go to Brazil in the first year,” said Toyota Mercosul vice-president Luiz Carlos de Andrade Junior.

The new SUV has a 163hp three-litre turbodiesel common rail engine producing 163hp and four-wheel drive.

Toyota’s IMV Project was created to optimise global manufacturing and supply of pickup trucks and multipurpose vehicles to over 140 countries worldwide.

The assembly plants are in Thailand, Indonesia, South África and Argentina but components are also made in Índia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Thailand.

Rogério Louro