What future Toyota cars and trucks will we see from Toyota USA?
Updated 10-5-2010. When we talk years, we usually mean model years; cars for the next model year show up around September 1, in most cases.
In 2009, Akio Toyoda took control of Toyota as President. He almost immediately claimed to drop his predecessor’s 2002 plan to have 15% of world market share — up from 11% in 2002 — and said that Toyota would change its priorities to focus on high-quality, affordable cars. Toyota’s current global capacity is ten million vehicles per year, but the company said it plans to drop its capacity (though it has not). Akio Toyoda said that rapid growth had strained Toyota’s resources and resulted in overcapacity. On the other hand, when Toyota sales slowed, he immediately restored rapid growth by slapping large rebates onto Toyota hoods, so it's hard to know how seriously to take these statements.
Toyota Car Updates
The all important Camry is expected in late 2011/early 2012 with Venza-like styling; word is the Solara will be dropped after numerous years without substantial sales.
The Toyota Prius is overdue for a plug-in version and lithium-ion batteries; a sedan and coupe appear to be planned for future years, with Japanese buyers getting a wagon in a few years, and Americans as well as Japanese possibly seeing a wagon version. The redesign is set for 2015; and a base model priced against the otherwise-inferior Honda Insight is planned.
The Corolla remains largely unchanged until around 2012 when it will be restyled; the Matrix will reportedly be replaced by the Toyota Blade. Hybrid power is expected for the new Corolla. The next “serious” upgrade for both vehicles should be around 2014.
Avalon is due for a redesign for 2014.
A V-8 powered Supra has been turned down; Toyota might argue that the Lexus IS-F is the Supra heir apparent.
A new Subaru based Toyota to enhance the company’s dowdy image is planned for 2012 or so; the Toyota version would be rear wheel drive, while Subaru would get its usual all wheel drive. The main Toyota input would be on sheet metal. The FT-HS/FT-86 hybrid would sport a 3.5 liter V6 and electric motor for a total of 400 hp along with (possibly) Subaru's all wheel drive (new rumors claim a 200 horsepower turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder, with Toyota getting RWD and Subaru getting AWD, and pricing of $27,500 or so).
The Yaris will be redesigned for 2012. Even with higher gas prices, Yaris has not really caught in with Americans (though the name might be a factor). In Japan, a hybrid version will be made; but in the United States, a class-leading wide-geared six-speed automatic is expected to increase gas mileage singificantly.The 1.5 liter engine is due for an update, too.
Low cost vehicles: Toyota was interested in growing its share of the ever-larger Indian market as well as expansion in China. A low cost vehicle would slot in below the current Scion line but above the infamous Tata. The ideal is for a reliable, low-cost car, using existing parts where possible but based on a clean-sheet platform; it would probably be sold under a different brand name, with a dedicated sales channel, to avoid diluting Toyota's refined image. Two models are being planned, a four-door sedan similar to the Dacia Logan; and a “people mover” similar to the Renault Kangoo. It is unknown whether Akio Toyoda will give this plan his full support.
Toyota Crossover, Minivan, and “Cute-Ute” Updates
The RAV4 will be redesigned for 2012. The V6 might be dropped, replaced by a hybrid to boost power instead. An electric RAV4 created in cooperation wtih Tesla is set for arrival in the same timeframe.
Highlander is set for a redesign in 2013; while the four cylinder was recently power boosted, Americans still greatly prefer the V6, and Toyota is reportedly working on a hybrid four to increase power and gas mileage alike.
Sienna redesigned for the 2011 model year and a hybrid version should show up in 2012. More consistently reliable than other minivans, the Toyota Sienna has been moving between first and fourth place in sales, with Odyssey and the two Chrysler minivans having roughly similar sales.
Toyota Truck Updates
The Toyota Tundra is a true American-style full-sized pickup. Built in the United States, it may get a heavy duty model (three-quarter or full ton), necessary for that “macho” image so important to American commuters. The interior is set for upgrades.
The big 5.7 liter V8 is also be used in the Lexus LX570 and will be in the next Land Cruiser.
The Tundra may benefit from Toyota’s acquisition of chunks of Isuzu; the Isuzu diesel engineers are far more advanced than those at Toyota, and were the main brains behind the successful GM Duramax engines. A diesel engine using Isuzu technology should end up in the Tundra sooner rather than later - possibly at about the same time GM and Dodge bring out their diesel-powered 1500 models. For serious American fleet buyers, the diesel is a very popular option, because it requires less maintenance, provides more grunt, and consumes far less fuel, cutting fuel bills nearly in half in some cases (and farmers can make their own biodiesel). Again, diesels also boost the “rough and tough” image.
The Tacoma is due for redesign in 2012-13 and is expected to get 4Runner styling.
Land Cruiser will hold on, supported by international sales, with a redesign coming soon. The 5.7 liter engine is likely to appear with 381 horsepower; the fancy Land Cruiser, Lexus LX570, already uses that engine.
The FJ Cruiser was to have been dropped but it seems to be dragging on, with no replacement set up.
The Sequoia is due for a redesign in 2014.
The 4Runner was re-engineered for 2010.