The commissioning of Toyota's new paint plant in Prospecton, part of a multi-billion rand facility expansion and upgrade, has significantly improved the supply situation on the company's popular Fortuner SUV and the Hilux pick-up range.
Minor changes to Fortuner include "privacy glass" at the rear
Both are riding a wave of popularity as the best selling and most wanted SUV and the highest selling one-ton pick- up in the local market.
The Fortuner, introduced during the first quarter of 2006, immediately went on to back order status at dealers around the country with demand far exceeding Toyota's ability to supply. That situation has now eased with Fortuner sales in September and October way up on the initial deliveries in the months following the launch.
Such is the impact of this increase in volume that in October the Fortuner SUV was ranked 14th best seller in the passenger vehicle sector and the leading SUV by far, with 648 sales for the month. This was not far shy of a position in the top 10 for the month and took total sales for the year to date to a segment-leading 3 743 units for the year.
Good news for prospective Fortuner customers is that the wait list is now shrinking with the increased production that has been made available by Toyota's increased capacity to paint vehicles; daily rate at the plant has gone up from 600 units a day to 720.
Also good news for customers is the fact that Toyota, following the philosophy of "kaizen", or constant improvement, has made a number of small running changes to the Fortuner after listening to customer feedback.
Amongst these is the fitting of tinted "privacy glass" from the rear doors back. This is a simple running change that adds to the visual appeal and has the practical benefit of reducing glare and heat build up within the vehicle.
Also added to the specification is a leather gear shift knob, to match the leather steering wheel, as well as improved, thicker sun visors. Inner liner extensions are also fitted to the right front fender.
Like the Fortuner, supply of the ever popular Hilux has been limited recently by production constraints resulting from a limitation on painting capacity, but that situation has also been eased by the new paint plant.
In October Hilux sales were 2 378 units, which was well above the deliveries in previous months this year. This performance has ensured that the Hilux remains at the top of the one-ton pick-up sales log for the year with 19 975 units delivered for the first 10 months of the year.
As with the Fortuner, Toyota has introduced a number of small changes to the Hilux based on customer feedback. These include the addition of a steel rear bumper for all SRX 4X4 models.
All Raider models now have inner liner extensions for the right front fender and improved sun visors. A cupholder has been added for the front seat passenger in all Raider models.