TMC has launched the first model built under its International Multipurpose Vehicles (IMV) project - a venture that will see Toyota SA put a new pickup and SUV into production next year.

The Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has launched the first model built under its International Multipurpose Vehicles (IMV) project - a venture that will see Toyota SA put a new pickup and SUV into production next year.


A pickup called the Hilux VIGO was launched in Thailand on Thursday and, according to Reuters, it is the first of five models to be developed under the IMV project, which aims to build vehicles for regions other than Japan and North America by drawing on Toyota's expanding global production and supply network.


Toyota announced the project two years ago as the next step in globalising its operations, after its efforts to produce more vehicles where they are sold, the press agency said.


Under the IMV scheme, Toyota plans to build the Hilux VIGO and two other pickups, a minivan and an SUV, at the Japanese manufacturer’s four main production bases of Thailand, Indonesia, Argentina and South Africa.


Toyota expects production of IMV vehicles to exceed 500 000 units by 2006 and that the models will be sold in more than 140 countries. That means Toyota SA’s plant in Prospecton will in all likelihood significantly step up its fully built-up vehicle export programme to coincide with the production of new models.


“After the Hilux VIGO in Thailand, Indonesia will begin producing a new minivan next month, while South Africa and Argentina will build a pickup and SUV next year,” a report said.


Although it has yet to be confirmed, the new pickup on the cards for Toyota SA could possibly replace the current Hilux.