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Monday, August 4, 2008
And then, there it was, posted in the darnest of all places - UMW Toyota Motor website; the official distributor of Toyota vehicles in Malaysia. Thanks to reader DoDo for the tip.
Image from UMW Toyota Motor
There will be no changes to the rear or the mechanicals. Just a different grille, revised bumper and maybe a slightly different shade of interior colour, maybe new body colour options. Order books for the facelifted Hilux and its sister car Fortuner are now open.
The Hilux is going to need all the help it can get. It not only has to battle with a new corp of fresh new formidable competitors in the form of Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton and the forthcoming Nissan Navara, but also from the reeling effects of high fuel prices. In Thailand, the region's largest pick-up market, industry analysts are bracing for a contraction in later half of this year as high fuel prices dented sales of pick-ups around the world.
Also, by 2010, Volkswagen will release its first pick-up truck - internally known as the "Robust." However expect the name to be changed by its launch timing (Update : The car has since been given the name Amarok). Early development mules have already been spotted with a Toyota Hilux body. Since then, prototypes have been spotted undergoing towing, cooling and braking tests in the mountains of Alpine and hot weather testing around deserts of USA. Among the target markets are Argentina and South America, which VW aims to sell at least 90,000 units of the vehicle annually in the region alone.
Image courtesy of WorldCarFans
While sales in Thailand and the rest of South East Asia have not been confirmed, it is not too far fetched to speculate that it is already in the plans. With Thailand being the second largest truck market after the USA, it would be foolish to ignore them. Sales in Europe though, have been ruled out as the market for trucks is very limited over there. The typical single-cab and double-cab bodystyles will be offered, with a more "lifestyle oriented closed-back" version rumoured to be offered. Not sure what that means other than a factory fitted rear canopy.
Based on the spyshots, it is clear that the Robust will be a workhorse no no-nonsense truck, more Navara than Triton. Expect the typical high in "German-quality" feel VW interior and a front fascia derived from elements found in the Tiguan and Touareg.
Below are videos taken by AutoMotorUndSport
Also, Volkswagen has another move up its sleeve - its highly acclaimed diesel engine technology, which not many companies, including Toyota is able to match.
However, don't be too quick to write off the Hilux. This legendary name has close to half a century of rock-solid reputation behind it and its going to take more than a "few" newcomers and high fuel prices to dethrone it as the king of trucks. While sales of pick-ups will be reduced somewhat, there will always be a market for pick-ups. Unlike many urban SUVs, when you need the utility of a flat-bed off-roader there isn't any other option other than a truck.
VW Amarok teaser site launched
Posted by AutoIndustrie at 8:45 AM