With the increasing popularity of the large pick-up and the seemingly unending domination of the SUV, a Japanese automotive juggernaut Toyota clearly cannot stand to lose ground in either arena to the competition.
For all their resources scattered to sedans and hatches(such as the all-new Camry and popular Corolla) and well as in their efforts to push further down the path to brand-wide electrification, perhaps now is the time to consolidate efforts to invigorate areas where the market is on the up and up - at least in North America.
That in mind, Jack Hollis, the company’s group vice president Jack Hollis spoke, who spoke recently with AutoGuide, had some interesting bits to share in regard to how the near future for Toyota will be toward their larger products.
Toyota is, thankfully, not sitting idly by while Ford’s F-150 takes all the glory - not to mention other rivals such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Titan, and the various Ram trucks (1500, 2500, 3500 series). Their Tundra is due for a substantially improved all-new model and is slated to be unveiled at the upcoming Detroit Motor Show later this month. However, those aforementioned rivals are also expected to have similar reveals under the same roof.
The burning question for Australians, of course, will be if Toyota is willing to leverage its popularity within our market to pounce on the burgeoning appetite for something larger than the HiLux. With the Chevrolet Silverado’s arrival later this year and the already established RAM 2500, there’s certainly a business case waiting to be made.
Meanwhile, Hollis also seemed to hint at the likelihood that the FT-AC concept (Future Toyota Adventure Concept) will be receiving (or already has) the green light for production. The vehicle, which he likened to the FJ Cruiser in terms of customer reception and intent, premiered just recently at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Given that pattern, it’s possible - not just probable - that the FT-AC could be launched within the next 2 years.
“Customer feedback was so strong, what did we do? Got the product out in about two years that looked almost identical to the product we brought out on stage. would put FT-AC in a similar boat,” said Hollis.
Of course, that’s not to say that it will exactly be positioned as an FJ Cruiser successor, but there is definitely a void now that the much loved retro-styled 4x4 was retired in August 2016. The FT-AC, while it certainly looks rugged, doesn’t evoke many thoughts of Toyota’s classic LandCruisers. Perhaps this is an intentional play to appeal to a broader base of customers. Depending on trim level and variant, we suspect, the at FT-AC (or whatever they’ll chose to name it) can be specified to cater both the SUV-seeking family or the trail-hungry off-roading enthusiast.