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Toyota Australia will have no less than eight SUVs in its product portfolio once the Corolla Cross lands locally next year, making it the mainstream brand with the most high-riders on offer.
With coverage across light, small, medium, large and upper-large SUV segments, Toyota is clearly covering its bases when it comes to high-riders, which now easily outsell once-dominate passenger cars like the Corolla, Camry and Yaris.
Speaking to CarsGuide, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said he believes this is the right mix of models to cater to the market.
“Are we too heavy [in SUV]? Not right now because each of them is doing very well in their own right,” he said.
“One of the strengths of the Toyota brand, since its inclusion into the Australia market, has been its breadth of product offerings.
“Like anything though, everything’s got to make sense from a business point of view, so we’ll always analyse segments.”
In 2021, SUVs make up the majority of new-car sales (52%), while passengers cars account for just 22.4 per cent.
Toyota SUVs meanwhile – which currently includes RAV4, LandCruiser, Fortuner, C-HR, Yaris Cross, Prado and Kluger – account for 42.9 per cent of the brands overall volume so far in 2021, compared with passenger cars that make up just 21.2 per cent.
The mix meanwhile, is expected to tip more in favour of SUVs as the upcoming Corolla Cross is due to launch in late 2022, while Toyota could also bring in its first all-electric model in the form of a mid-size SUV due to be revealed later this month.
However, Mr Hanley said that each model will need to establish its own business case, and that Toyota Australia won’t just offer any SUVs for the sake of it.
“We continue to analyse segments; we continue to try and do our best to forecast where the consumer trends will go and try to bring cars to market to suit those requirements,” he said.
“Right now, when you look at C-HR, it’s doing very well, it’s found its nice place in the market. It’s never going to be the biggest seller in the Toyota range, but there’s a clear a market.”
And these SUVs might not necessarily come at the cost of passenger cars either, said Mr Hanley, who wouldn’t be drawn on the future of the Yaris now that there is a more-popular Yaris Cross in showrooms.
“A great case study right now would be Yaris and the small hatchback market and the fact that, it’s been well publicised, Toyota has gone post $20,000, so we’re no longer in that sub-$20,000, what used to traditionally be called the entry point to a new car,” he said.
“We quickly moved to a Yaris Cross small SUV. Why? Because that’s where the market’s going.”