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Last Minute: Toyota brings its sixth hybrid model to Mexico

Toyota has the objective of offering a hybrid model in each of the segments in which it participates. After launching Prius, Camry, Corolla, Sienna and RAV-4 in the last decade, it has now decided to bring a hybrid version of its Tundra pickup.

“A hybrid pickup is one of the pieces that we were missing,” said Gerardo Romero, vice president of operations for Toyota Motors Sales de México, who plans to market around 400 units of the model in the remainder of 2022, and reach 500 units in 2023. .

The Japanese manufacturer sold 9,440 hybrid vehicles during the first half of the year, equivalent to 18% of its total sales in the country during this period.

Tundra is assembled at the plant in San Antonio, Texas, and Romero said sales prospects are in line with supply forecasts. “There is a guaranteed supply of that number of units that we plan to arrive, so we want to be conservative and offer a number that we can meet,” he added.

The Japanese company will launch two versions: Limited and Premium, both with i-FORCE MAX technology hybrid motorization, which incorporates a 3.5-liter V6 Twin Turbo engine coupled to a 10-speed transmission. The hybrid system offers 437 horsepower and 585 pound-feet of torque.

Tundra has a load capacity of up to 730 kilos and can tow up to 5,064 kilos. With a price range of 1,249,000 for its Limited version and 1,389,900 for its Platinum version, Toyota will seek to gain a foothold in the full-size pickup segment.

And the electric ones?

With an offer that now totals six models and about 85% of the market, the Japanese manufacturer is consolidated as the largest seller of traditional (non-plug-in) hybrid cars in Mexico. But the tide of the electric ones begins to generate waves.

Ford, General Motors and Nissan already offer fully electric models in Mexico while the Chinese brand Jac has managed to generate an interesting sales volume from its electric range. Practically all premium brands already include a battery model in their offer.

For Luis Trujillo, product and price planning manager for Toyota in the country, the main obstacle for the brand to market fully electric vehicles in Mexico is the lack of infrastructure. “We have electrical alternatives in our Toyota portfolio globally… Obviously we would love to have further news, but they depend on more factors, such as the network of chargers and what the consumer demands of us,” he said.

In Mexico, hybrid technology is the most demanded, among all the options that offer some degree of electrification. In 2021, automakers sold 47,079 hybrid vehicles, which represented an annual increase of 93.2%. In that same period, 3,492 plug-in hybrids were sold, which resulted in an annual variation of 75.8%.

As a whole, these two segments accounted for 4.4% of the entire market share, while the fully electric segments accounted for only 0.1%, equivalent to 1,140 units.

“When you talk about electrification, you have to see all the implications: infrastructure that allows recharging, see the autonomy of the battery, the distances you can travel,” Trujillo explained. “We are still working on it,” he concluded.

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