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Toyota wants Kiwis to buy fewer diesel Hilux utes

Toyota's local arm says it is encouraging some commercial customers to consider hybrid SUVs as alternatives to its Hilux best-seller.

Nile Bijoux/Stuff

Toyota’s local arm says it is encouraging some commercial customers to consider hybrid SUVs as alternatives to its Hilux best-seller.

As it pushes to further reduce its emissions output, Toyota New Zealand has reiterated that it wants to sell fewer Hilux utes to local customers.

The update comes via the brand’s latest sustainability report for 2022which highlights the bevy of measures Toyota New Zealand is taking in emissions reduction, electrification, and mobility.

In the report, the brand says that it wants to ensure that Hilux models are being sold mainly to fleet customers that actually need their capabilities – simultaneously recommending hybrid SUVs as an alternative.

The hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux has been confirmed for small series production in Europe.

Supplied

The hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux has been confirmed for small series production in Europe.

“For commercial customers who have preferred to run fleets of diesel Hilux utes, we are encouraging a switch to a hybrid electric RAV4 or Highlander where appropriate,” says the report. “We believe utes are not always necessary for fleet use when the majority are passenger-only driving on tarmac between offices and work sites.”

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“In the past, Hilux sales have been a significant part of our sales. While we await new innovations to enable an electrified version, Toyota New Zealand has committed to selling fewer Hilux utes in the future, and for those that we do sell, they will be targeted at people or firms that need them,” it adds.

The Hilux GR Sport is expected to be confirmed for local sale later this year.

Supplied

The Hilux GR Sport is expected to be confirmed for local sale later this year.

It isn’t the first time that Toyota’s local arm has made the point that it wants to sell less utes in New Zealand. Now recentlyit was reported that Toyota would stop selling Hilux utes to the New Zealand Police until a more sustainable option becomes available.

The Hilux remains Toyota’s best-selling nameplate down under, ending 2022 as the most popular new vehicle in Australia and the second most popular new vehicle in New Zealandbehind the Ford Ranger.

While no electrified Hilux has been confirmed for local sale yet, the brand recently unveiled both the fully electric Hilux and the hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux. The former is a concept, and the latter approved for “small series production” in Europe.

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The 36-page report covers a raft of topics. In it, Toyota confirms plans to increase the ratio of women holding managerial positions to at least 40% as part of its 2050 vision.

“We recognize that the gender balance of our management structure is not sufficient at both management and senior leadership levels. We have a responsibility to improve this for our own people and for the wider industry that has historically been male dominated,” it says.

The report also alludes to the brand’s goals of reducing its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030, reducing its landfill waste by 40%, achieving net zero carbon by 2050, while also discussing how it aims to improve community connection.

The RAV4 is Toyota's best-selling passenger car locally.

Damien O’Carroll

The RAV4 is Toyota’s best-selling passenger car locally.

The report also confirms that Toyota is investigating the possibility of using synthetic petrol or hydrogen to fuel the domestic Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship in a bid to make the series more environmentally friendly.

Toyota New Zealand CEO Neeraj Lala says that the brand believes hybrid vehicles are the best immediate response to the need for emissions reduction, advocating for “a wide range of solutions” going forward – BEV, hybrid, and hydrogen included.

“This report represents a major step forward for Toyota New Zealand on our path towards net zero carbon by 2050,” says Lala. “As market leader and a trusted brand in New Zealand we are setting ourselves a lofty target. There are challenges ahead for our business, but we are also looking forward to a future of exciting possibilities.”

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