Toyota to expand UK line-up with more SUVs, halo cars

Toyota RAV4 nose badge

Performance follow-ups to the GR Yaris expected in the next five years

Toyota will grow its UK line-up in the next five years with a focus on further expanding its SUV range – and the promise of more high-performance halo models to follow the GR Yaris.

The Japanese firm has set ambitious growth targets for the European market, with the goal of selling 1.4 million vehicles a year by 2025, an increase of around half a million from current levels. 

Toyota has renewed and refreshed much of its line-up in recent years and will expand its SUV range with the launch of the new Yaris Cross compact crossover and by introducing the large Highlander to the market for the first time. They will join the C-HR, RAV4 and Land Cruiser off-roader in the brand’s high-riding line-up, with a RAV4-sized EV due to be revealed next year.

But Matthew Harrison, Toyota’s Europe vice-president, told Autocar the range will grow further in the next five years, with a key target being a new model that will sit between the C-HR and RAV4.

“There are parts of the market we’re not covering, particularly with SUVs,” said Harrison. “Some of the segments are growing so big they are almost sub-divided, providing other opportunities for us to cover. If you look at the compact C-SUV segment, we’re going a good job with C-HR, but we’re playing at the top end with people buying the car for emotional or design reasons, and there’s a whole part of the segment we’re not really covering.

“The Yaris Cross is developing firmly for the [smaller] B-SUV segment. Certainly, both below and above B-SUV, there continue to be opportunities. Certainly, there are opportunities for Toyota, particularly with crossovers and SUVs.”

Toyota has committed to offering an electrified option on every new model, deploying hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and hydrogen technology to meet the demand in each segment. 

Although Toyota has put a major focus on its SUV models to meet the most popular market segment, it has also developed a range of performance models under its Gazoo Racing brand, with the GR Supra and GR Yaris set to be joined by the still unconfirmed GR86 next year. 

Harrison said such halo models are designed to boost the image of Toyota’s range and will be followed by more in future.

“When we launched Gazoo Racing in Europe with the WRC project, we fully embraced it. Halo models like the GR Yaris are critical. If you want to inject excitement, desire and appeal into a brand, which is everything we were missing a bit of, these products have a huge role to play.

“It’s not about the volume or profit contribution. It’s about the excitement they bring to the brand. The revenue will then come with the core models, because people aspire to want to drive Toyota products: our GR Sport grade is now the best-selling grade across Corolla and soon with C-HR, and that is a big revenue generator for us.

“Halo models are critical and we’re lucky because of our hybrid mix we have enough space to be able to bring low-volume product like that and cope with it in our vehicle fleet emissions average. That we’d like to continue as long as we can and there will be more halo products, I promise.”


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Source: Autocar

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