Toyota 70 Series and Fortuner SUV

All-new 70 Series and Fortuner SUV on the horizon for Toyota Australia.

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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Toby Hagon

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