Toyota has unveiled a host of concepts at the Japan Mobility Show 2023 and while the showstoppers are future models like the FT-S3 and FT-3e EVs, the one that probably has more significance in today’s context is the IMV 0 platform that could spawn new ICE-powered offerings in the near future, which could make its way to India. Notably, the IMV 0 platform could spawn a more affordable SUV in the future, which could be a more affordable Fortuner.
The Toyota IMV 0 platform has been designed as a pick-up and traces its origins to the IMV platform that underpins the Hilux and Innova as well. The automaker says the new single-cab chassis concept platform brings “boundless customisation possibilities” with its modular design, which makes it diverse enough for different applications on its flat-bed section.
What’s important to note is that the IMV 0 has been designed to make things affordable. That’s why the IMV platform has been used as the base for the IMV 0 in a bid to achieve higher economies of scale given the existing knowledge and know-how on the existing models and suppliers. Moreover, the modularity will help Toyota bring different body styles including pick-ups and even an SUV in the future.
This brings us to the possibility of a more affordable Toyota Fortuner in the future. It certainly makes more business sense to have a mid-tier SUV that’s positioned below the Fortuner at a more affordable price point. The ladder-on-frame SUV has seen some serious price increments in recent times, with a brand new one costing about Rs 60 lakh (on-road) in the country. The automaker is now missing an offering in the Rs 25-40 lakh (on-road prices) space, making for a massive gap in terms of price points. The brand’s SUV range starts with the Urban Cruiser Hyryder in India, which is priced between Rs 10–20 lakh. And while the Hyryder is not a bad offering, it’s best described as a soft-roader. Instead, a rugged ladder-on-frame SUV would just be in line with the market demand, especially with models like the Mahindra Thar 5-door underway, while also taking on the MG Hector, Tata Safari, and Mahindra Scorpio-N into consideration.
More details on the upcoming baby Fortuner will be available in the near future. We will be keeping close tabs on this development. Expect markets like Thailand and Indonesia to get the models first, with the pick-up going on sale by 2025. Both the pick-up and SUV derivate could make their way to India soon after. Can it spawn a Maruti Suzuki-badged offering? We shall see.