Toyota has made around half of its local lineup hybrid-only, but it still has yet to confirm a hybrid version of its popular Prado for Australia.

    “So no impact to new model Prado as a result of today’s announcement,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice president for sales, marketing and franchise operations, after announcing the Camry, Corolla, Corolla Cross, Kluger and RAV4 would go hybrid-only locally.

    “It’s actually a performance hybrid… We’re investigating whether that performance hybrid for what our Prado is used for is the right drivetrain for this vehicle in this country.

    “I do see hybrid as a tangible alternative for this vehicle at this point and I’d love to get hold of one, we’ve just got to make sure it’s the right engine for the kinds of things people in Australia will want to do with that Prado.

    MORE: Toyota Prado 250 Series specs compared with 150 Series

    “We really haven’t confirmed that vehicle for Australia, it’s definitely something we’re looking at – 100 per cent, of course we are – but not confirmed and there’s a lot of water still to go under that bridge.

    “If it’s possible, then in the lifetime of this new generation, if it’s possible and it works for us, it’s certainly something we’d be keen to look at.”

    The Prado hybrid is currently produced only in left-hand drive in Japan for the US market.

    “The other part of that equation is, if we wanted a right-hand drive version of that car, we’d have to do serious volume,” said Mr Hanley.

    MORE: Toyota Prado 250 Series specs compared with GWM Tank 500 hybrid

    “You’d be talking Kluger-type volumes of that model… That’s the kind of volume you’d need to do to get an OE conversion from the Toyota Motor North America plant.”

    Mr Hanley referred to US production, even though the Prado is built in Japan. However, Toyota produces vehicles with turbocharged hybrid powertrains – including the Tacoma – in the US.

    “We’ve got to be able to sell it in serious volume, so therefore its capability has got to be there for the Australian market,” said Mr Hanley.

    “At this stage, that’s not on the agenda, it’s certainly nothing that we’ve confirmed or even studied to that point to be honest.”

    Mr Hanley’s reference to Kluger-type volumes indicates Toyota would need to be able to sell over 10,000 Prado hybrids annually in Australia for the business case to stack up.

    It sold 20,710 Prados in total last year.

    The new Prado – also known as the LandCruiser 250 Series or simply LandCruiser, depending on the market – uses a 2.4-litre turbocharged petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain in the North American market.

    It produces total system outputs of 243kW of power and 630Nm of torque.

    The Australian-market Prado, due mid-year, will be powered exclusively by a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system, with total outputs of 150kW and 500Nm.

    In the absence of the Prado hybrid, GWM has stepped in to fill the vacuum in our market with its hybrid-only Tank 500.

    GWM has also beat Toyota to market with a hybrid ute in Australia.

    MORE: Everything Toyota Prado

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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