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Toyota streamlines top-selling HiLux range

Over and out: Toyota has dropped a number of V6 petrol HiLux variants, including the SR5 Double Cab 4x4 (left).

Fewer HiLux variants to be offered, fate of expected safety upgrades still unclear

11 Jul 2013

TOYOTA has axed the bulk of its petrol V6 HiLux range, but as most sales are diesel, don’t expect the Japanese workhorse to slip off the Australian sales podium any time soon.

Meantime, the fate of an expected suite of fleet-friendly safety upgrades expected to be applied to the range this year – many large fleets now insist on five ANCAP stars – is up in the air, with no confirmation of when we may see any changes applied.

The company recently discontinued a number of two-wheel drive V6s, including the SR Single Cab pick-up and cab-chassis, the automatic Extra Cab SR5 pick-up and the manual version of the Double Cab SR pick-up.

Four-wheel drive variants getting the chop include the manual Double Cab SR5 pick-up and both the manual and auto versions of the SR manual Double Cab pick-up.

The V6 petrol models Toyota has retained are the 4x2 SR Extra Cab pick-up, 4x2 SR and SR5 Double Cab pick-up and 4x4 SR5 Double Cab pick-up, all in automatic guise.

Toyota has not made any changes to the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel or 2.7-litre petrol variants in the HiLux range.

The discontinued variants make up less than 20 per cent of the total V6 petrol HiLux sales, which in turn represent only a slim fraction of overall sales, meaning the move will have minimal impact to overall HiLux sales.

While the HiLux range is on track to be this year’s best-selling light-commercial vehicle, it could also take over as the overall top-selling vehicle for 2013.

HiLux 4x4 sales are up by 9.9 per cent for the first six months of the year with 15,396 units shifted, while Toyota has sold 5325 4x2 utes so far this year, down 1.5 per cent on last year’s results.

The combined total of HiLux sales from January to June this year is 20,721 units. Currently, the HiLux’s main competition for sales comes from within its own stable, with the Corolla hatch sitting in the top spot with 20,970 sales, just 249 units ahead of HiLux.

Last year’s sales winner, the Mazda3, is still a contender in third place with 20,077 units sold so far this year, but with an all-new model set to launch in quarter one next year, it may not maintain the momentum it needs for a third straight year on top of the sales charts.

Light-commercial vehicles currently make up four spots in the top ten-selling vehicles in Australia, with aging models such as the Mitsubishi Triton in sixth place on 13,054 sales and Nissan Navara with 13,723 sales, while the newer Ford Ranger sits in eighth spot with 10,563 units shifted.

Meantime, Toyota last year announced it would upgrade the HiLux in 2013 to include safety improvements in a bid to boost its ANCAP rating from four stars to five.

The improvements were expected to include the addition of electronic stability control (ESC) and side curtain airbags to some variants, but Toyota this week did not confirm whether or not the upgrade would go ahead.

Currently manufacturers are not mandated to include ESC on LCVs, but earlier this year the federal government announced it would consider making the safety technology mandatory on all LCVs sold in Australia from around 2015 to 2016.

From November this year, all passenger vehicles sold in every state and territory of Australia must have ESC as standard.

Victoria is the only state that currently requires ESC as standard on all passenger vehicles available for sale, which has seen a number of makers precluded from selling models in the state.

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