Toyota’s South African unit has unveiled a new Hilux pickup truck, one of five newly developed vehicles under what the largest Japanese automaker calls an Innovative International Multipurpose Vehicle Project.
According to Kyodo News, Toyota South Africa Motors (Pty) Ltd. in Durban began producing the truck on April 14, making South Africa the seventh IMV production base after Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Malaysia and Argentina.
The Hilux will go on sale in South Africa on May 10.
Kyodo News said the project is aimed at mass-producing multipurpose vehicles overseas for emerging markets and, in addition to the Hilux truck, Toyota South Africa plans to begin making sport utility vehicles by the end of this year.
The report said Toyota will spend some 27 billion yen to raise the South African factory’s combined production for the two IMV models to 120,000 units a year during 2007 – the plant is hiring about 800 new employees.
Toyota has positioned the South African factory as its base to supply pickup trucks and SUVs to more than 70 countries and regions especially in Europe and Africa, Kyodo News noted.