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Toyota goes for Granvia

Mover: Toyota has resurrected the Granvia name for a potential future model, perhaps another HiAce-based people-mover and a spiritual successor to the superseded HiAce SBV (left).

Born-again Granvia badge surfaces among Toyota vehicle trademarks in Australia

Toyota logo14 Jun 2018

TOYOTA appears to be paving the way for the introduction of a new vehicle using a resurrected Toyota name – Granvia.
 
Previously applied to a range of HiAce-based people-movers sold by Toyota in Japan between 1995 and 2002, the name has appeared in two recent trademark applications in Australia – a one by Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan and another specifically for Australia by Toyota Australia.
 
Toyota Australia declined to comment on the applications, reiterating that it does not discuss trademarks that it might make.
 
The first application was lodged by Toyota of Japan in April, with the Australian one following in May. Both applications are pending, with registration not expected until late this year at the earliest.
 
The Japanese application has been made under class 12, meaning it is for a motor vehicle. The Australian application also covers several other classes covering marketing and promotional activities for motor vehicles, insurance and financial services, and repair, maintenance and accessories for motor vehicles.
 
Although no details of a possible Granvia vehicle have been divulged, a look at history suggests it could be a passenger van, potentially based on the next-generation HiAce.
 
The previous Granvia – distinguished by a short bonnet to aid crash safety – was sold in Australia as the HiAce SBV between 1999 and 2005 before being replaced by minibus versions the current fifth-generation HiAce that went into production in late 2005.
 
Now 14 years old, the current HiAce is still going strong in Australia, leading the light bus segment with 1174 sales so far this year, as well as the cargo van segment with 2712 sales. 
 
In light bus sales, the HiAce holds a formidable 88 per cent share of its segment in which it competes against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Renault Master.
 
In van sales, HiAce has a dominant 34 per cent share, leading the Hyundai iLoad (1935 sales, 24%) and Renault Trafic (828, 10.3%).
 
However, no one would be surprised if an all-new HiAce replacement surfaced in the next year or two as Toyota tries to stay one step ahead.
 
The same theory could also be applied to the Toyota Tarago, which is almost as old as the HiAce, having being launched in 2006.
 
Unlike the HiAce, the Tarago – known variously overseas as the Previa and Estima – has been blitzed by the Kia Carnival in recent years.
 
Year to date, the Tarago has achieved just 272 sales – about 50 a month – compared with the Kia Carnival’s 2592 at more than 500 a month.
 
Globally, the people-mover class that was once flavour of the month in the 1980s has taken a hit from seven-seat SUVs that have proliferated due to greater versatility and a sexier image. 
 
Some vehicle manufacturers such as Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz have cut their losses by introducing vans that can cover both the goods and passenger roles. These include the Hyundai iLoad/iMax and Mercedes Vito/V-Class.
 
Again, no one would be shocked if Toyota followed suit, with a short-wheelbase, HiAce-based Granvia replacing the Tarago in its range alongside the tradies’ favourite HiAce van.

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