Toyota 70 Series and Fortuner SUV

Toyota ute

Toyota has now all but confirmed the new Fortuner will arrive in Australia this year to bolster the company’s four-wheel drive ranks.

The brand that owns 16 per cent of the SUV market and 26 per cent of the 4x4 ute market isn’t content with its five-strong 4WD range (as well as a further two light duty SUVs) and it’s understood it has ticked the boxes to sign off on the crucial new model.

Based on the soon-to-arrive new HiLux, the Fortuner would slot between the FJ Cruiser and Prado to provide a more affordable seven-seater to compete with other ute-based off-roaders including the Holden Colorado 7, Mitsubishi Challenger and Isuzu MU-X.

Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing, told 4X4 Australia there was space for another serious off-roader – and that Toyota would not be softening its stance on 4x4s.

Rugged off-roaders are core to the brand and Toyota would not walk away from what is a solid and lucrative part of the car market.

Cramb also told 4X4 the company was actively discussing pushing forward the development and launch of an all-new Land Cruiser 70 Series, with the view to achieving a five-star NCAP safety rating. A five-star rating is now a compulsory prerequisite for some mining companies and these companies previously made up a significant chunk of sales.

It is understood a new generation 70 Series will arrive in 2017 at the earliest and will likely retain much of the rugged hardware underneath but with a revised body and better crash structure to meet stricter regulations.

Cramb said it’s all part of a longer term Toyota strategy to improve its vehicles and better develop them for the Australian market.

For more information, purchase your copy of the March 2015 issue of 4X4 Australia.

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