Toyota is entrenched as South Africa’s most popular vehicle brand. The Japanese company appears unassailable in its position, with its total sales nearly double that of its closest rival last year.
Volkswagen sold 69 801 vehicles in South Africa last year. And Toyota? An impressive 132 035. Especially considering that Toyota’s KZN manufacturing facility flooded and was out of commission for weeks, losing valuable production.
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For a brand that is so successful, what does 2023 hold? Toyota has announced its product strategy for the next four quarters.
Toyota Crowns its luxury range
Followers of all things Toyota and luxury motoring will be thrilled that the brand’s 16th-generation Crown is confirmed for local introduction. With a legacy as the Japanese ‘Rolls-Royce’, Toyota’s Crown is a rare and esteemed luxury car nameplates.
The Crown is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid powertrain, not too dissimilar to that used in some Lexus models. Throttle response should be good, with a total system output of 176kW. The claimed overall fuel consumption of only 4.4l/100km, is remarkably light for a luxury sedan of its size.
More Suzuki twins
On the more affordable spectrum, Toyota’s Vitz, a compact city car, will replace the Agya. It’s powered by a 1-litre triple, good for 49kW and 89Nm. The Vitz is a mechanical twin of Suzuki’s Celerio.
Crossovers are currency in the local market, and Toyota will reinforce its presence with the updated Urban Cruiser, based on Suzuki’s Brezza. What changes with the 2023 model year Urban Cruiser? Expect an enhanced safety specification and nice-to-haves such as cruise control, a rearview camera and climate control.
Slightly new face for Fortuner
Any change to South Africa’s best-selling SUV is huge news in the local all-terrain vehicle market. Toyota will introduce a refreshed version of its Fortuner in February. What changes? Reshaped front styling elements, including the headlights, grille and bumper.
Fortuner customers will also have the option of a new red and black contrasting trim finish. This plays on Toyota’s Gazoo Racing sub-brand’s theme, where red cabin detailing is a design statement.
Having sold more vehicles than any rival last year, there’s little doubt that Japan’s most successful car company knows what customers want. And shapes its product portfolio, accordingly.