Toyota is the undisputed leader for hybrid technology in the Australian market, but it has yet to offer any electrification on its top-selling HiLux ute. That’s set to change.
Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations, hinted the HiLux range will expand further this year.
“Of course, we’re not standing still with our HiLux line-up,” Mr Hanley said. “Last year we launched the [updated] HiLux Rogue, and it has been very warmly received. In the third quarter of this year, we’ll launch HiLux GR Sport.”
“Beyond that, we will have more action on HiLux in the second half of the year.”
“Our goal always is to address market opportunities and customer needs with HiLux. At some point, that will include a form of electrification, although I don’t intend to go into the exact details of that today,” he added.
When asked a follow-up question about that statement, Mr Hanley said:
“We obviously have to look at commercial vehicles between now and 2030. So, what type of electrification we apply to that, we’re not in a position to say today. But it is certainly something that we know we’ll need to do.”
Toyota hasn’t confirmed whether the HiLux will adopt a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain as used across much of its car and crossover line-up, or a diesel-electric hybrid, mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid.
“Hybrid, plug-in hybrid – there’s all sorts of variants. We’re looking at H2 (hydrogen) conversions, we’re looking at BEVs, we’re looking at everything. This is exactly what we’re saying – Toyota won’t put all of its eggs in one basket,” said Mr Hanley.
“The critical thing for us in Australia is fit for purpose. And I know I’ve said this ad nauseam. Some people get it, and most of the silent majority actually get it. But of course, everyone has got different views, and I respect everyone’s different views, because they’re not all wrong, and not all right, either.
“We’ve never said for one moment that we won’t do electrification, that we won’t do BEVs. We’ve simply said there’s more than one option then just going with BEVs. To get to carbon neutral and be able to take customers on that journey, you’ve got to offer a choice. It’s as simple as that.”
Toyota reinforced its commitment to offer three fully electric vehicles in Australia by 2026, in addition to the hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai which is available for fleet orders.
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