Stal­wart re­vamped to cel­e­brate mile­stone

NEW MOD­ELS/ Toy­ota has launched the Hilux Dakar Edi­tion in the 50th an­niver­sary year of the fa­mous bakkie, writes Mark Smyth

Business Day - Motor News - - COMMERCIAL NEWS -

Toy­ota has in­tro­duced its lat­est Hilux Dakar edi­tion, a model that, if you look beyond the de­cals, ac­tu­ally has a lot more to say. This year is the 50th an­niver­sary of the Hilux, which de­buted on March 21 1968. Since then more than 18-mil­lion have been sold world­wide.

Toy­ota SA is not mak­ing any fuss over the big mile­stone though, be­cause SA only got the Hilux in 1969, so if you are ex­pect­ing the im­mi­nent ar­rival of a Leg­end 50 edi­tion, sorry, but you will have to wait un­til 2019.

And if you are wait­ing for the facelift of the Hilux, you will also have to wait a while longer. Or you could buy the Dakar model, be­cause ahead of the facelift be­ing ap­plied across the whole range later in 2018, the Dakar gets the new pseudo Land Cruiser look first.

The facelift in­cludes a more dra­matic trape­zoidal grille, pos­si­bly to give it a more pur­pose­ful look to match that of the Ford Ranger. In the Dakar edi­tion, the grille is gloss black with a metal­lic grey sur­round and there are now LED head lamps. The hon­ey­comb grille treat­ment ex­tends into the lower part of the bumper, which has also been re­vised for the model.

In­side, the big change is a new in­stru­ment clus­ter with re­vised gauges and graph­ics.

The Dakar model gets a graphic in the dig­i­tal screen that shows an im­age of the ve­hi­cle on start­ing the bakkie.

It has a black roof lin­ing, metal­lic black trim ac­cents and black leather. A num­ber of Dakar de­cals are dot­ted around the ve­hi­cle.

As the Dakar Hilux is based on the Raider, it gets the same en­gines in the form of a 2.8 GD-6 diesel or a 4.0l petrol.

The model is avail­able in four colours: in­ferno or­ange (not the colour of Ali­cia Reina’s Hilux that burned out on the Dakar in 2018), glacier white, chromium sil­ver and graphite grey.

The Dakar Edi­tion is avail­able in xtra-cab and dou­ble-cab ver­sions with pric­ing rang­ing from R470,300 to R662,700.

Toy­ota is not con­firm­ing when the facelift will be ap­plied to other mod­els in the range but don’t be sur­prised to see them ar­rive in the next few months.

No doubt Toy­ota SA also has big plans to cel­e­brate its own Hilux an­niver­sary in 2019. The Hilux has been a big part of the suc­cess of Toy­ota in SA since the days of the early mod­els.

The Hilux con­tin­ues to be the com­pany’s top seller and with it be­ing man­u­fac­tured in Dur­ban for the lo­cal and ex­port mar­kets, also con­tin­ues to be a model of suc­cess for the South African au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

Glob­ally more than 18-mil­lion have been man­u­fac­tured since the first model rolled off a pro­duc­tion line in Ja­pan. In its first few years Toy­ota sold fewer than 100,000 mod­els each year but then the suc­cess story started, reach­ing a peak when the com­pany sold nearly 750,000 Hiluxes world­wide in 2012. The num­bers have dropped in re­cent years, with 521,000 find­ing new own­ers in 2017 across the 180 mar­kets where the Hilux is sold.

Asia re­mains the big­gest mar­ket for the model and the re­gion that man­u­fac­tures the high­est num­ber, with 310,500 leav­ing the Thai­land fac­tory in 2017 and 24,700 more be­ing pro­duced in Malaysia and the Philip­pines. Ar­gentina is the sec­ond-largest pro­ducer of Hiluxes,

THE HILUX HAS BEEN A BIG PART OF THE SUC­CESS OF TOY­OTA IN SA SINCE THE DAYS OF THE EARLY MOD­ELS

build­ing 103,000 in 2017 but the Toy­ota SA plant in Prospec­ton, Dur­ban, is not too far be­hind as the third big­gest of the six Hilux plants around the globe, pro­duc­ing 75,500 in 2017.

The suc­cess there­fore looks set to con­tinue, de­spite ri­vals such as the new Nis­san Navara, Volk­swa­gen Amarok and Mercedes-Benz X-Class. How­ever, as the au­to­mo­tive world faces its big­gest changes since the in­ven­tion of the mo­tor car, will the Hilux still ex­ist in 50 years and, if so, in what form?

Far left: The Toy­ota Hilux Dakar Edi­tion is the first to fea­ture a facelift that will de­but on other mod­els. Above: The Hilux first de­buted in Ja­pan in 1968. Left: The in­te­rior gets a new in­stru­ment clus­ter and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion in the in­fo­tain­ment...

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