After first denying possible local production of the Innova multipurpose vehicle (MPV), Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) on Tuesday confirmed that it was indeed mulling assembling the family car at its Durban plant.
The Innova was built on Toyota’s innovative multiplatform vehicle (IMV) platform, along with the Hilux pick-up and Fortuner sports utility vehicle, which were already produced at TSAM’s local plant.
TSAM product planner Leslie Long said at the official launch of the Innova at Lanseria Airport that local production would depend on how the South African market responded to the MPV. He believed local sales could reach around 180 units a month.
However, lower volumes would not be problematic in introducing the Innova to the Durban plant, noted Long, owing to the fact that the IMV assembly line was already set up and operational in South Africa.
“It would be relatively easy to decide on local production at the Durban plant.”
The Innova, Hilux and Fortuner shared engines, chassis and a host of other smaller parts.
Long also believed the Innova would find a favourable market in the rest of Africa, with the Fortuner and Hilux already exported into the continent.
THE NEW INNOVA
While TSAM mulled possible production of the Innova, the MPV launched on Tuesday would be imported from Indonesia.
Long believed the target market for the vehicle was the family looking for a “true, affordable family vehicle”.
It would be a different market from the Verso MPV, which was a more luxurious vehicle with a higher specification level, he added.
The 4.58-m-long Innova would be available in a higher-specification seven-seater model, priced at R265 500, and the eight-seater people mover at R249 700. The seven-seater featured two middle-row captain seats, with slide and recline functions, as an added luxury, for example.
Both vehicles were equipped with a 2.7 VVT-I four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 118 kW at 5 200 rev/min, and 241 Nm of torque at 3 800 rev/min.
Fuel consumption was rated at 11.2 l/100 km in a combined cycle, and carbon dioxide emissions at 265 g/km.
Long noted that TSAM was investigating the introduction of a diesel derivative.
Both versions of the Innova featured driver and passenger airbags, as well as ABS as standard. Also standard were an information display, air-conditioning, electric windows, alarm, immobiliser and built-in steering controls for the audio, Bluetooth and information display system.
Ground clearance was 168 mm.
With Toyota’s more affordable people movers always finding their way into the taxi market, Long noted that the Innova could probably find use within the taxi feeder and distribution systems in residential areas, as the small Avanza MPV had done.
Around 15% of all Avanzas on local roads were used in the South African taxi market.