Since the opening stages of 2021, UMW Toyota have been hyping Malaysians up to expect new hybrid models in the near future - locally assembled ones, at that - and it seems that the company is finally ready to let us hear more.
In a somewhat vague and confusing press release issued yesterday, UMW Toyota Motor have set a firm date when more will be revealed: September 27th, “inviting Malaysians on a journey that will give them the opportunity to experience a part of the future, today.” - or so they say.
Perhaps Akio Takeyama, UMW Toyota Motor Deputy Chairman, said it most aptly: “At the risk of not revealing too much, let me just say we will be making a detailed announcement
about this very soon, and it will have a big impact on not only the brand but the industry as a
whole, and the lifestyle as well as choices that we have become so accustomed to,”
“Toyota Motor Corporation continues to be at the forefront of pioneering new frontiers and it
has gone one step further to cement this with a global commitment by 2050. We are faced with
the prospect of an exciting new era, one that will plot the course well into the future for
generations to come.”
There’s really nothing by way of a foothold to make any hard assumptions about what exactly the company has to announce next week, but despite lacking any mention of electrification and hybrid vehicles, its the most likely topic of discussion here.
Beyond the Malaysian market, the Corolla Cross Hybrid remains a popular contender on the international stage and represents a gap in the local range that’s just waiting to be patched up. To coincide a launch announcement alongside the commencement of local assembly for the existing 1.8G and 1.8V variants of the compact SUV will be a slick move.
Elsewhere there are some other possible hybrid models that UMW Toyota could add to their line-up. For example, there are so many additional variants, body styles, and powertrain options for the current 12th-generation E210 Corolla that have been completely inaccessible to Malaysians so far.
Larger vehicles such as the Camry (in other markets) have used electrification to enhance their performance and refinement levels while the RAV4 even offers a plug-in hybrid variant with over 300hp in certain regions.
The point here is that there’s so much to choose from and, for Malaysians, having even a small selection of hybrid Toyotas at attractive prices made possible through local assembly will be a huge win for the local automotive market as well as for UMW Toyota.
Takeyama-san seems to agree that a disruptive change is inbound, ending the press release by saying: “The availability of tomorrow’s possibilities today will quickly transform Malaysia’s economic and social landscape. The way forward is to commit and push ahead, even if it means breaking boundaries and challenging conventional ways.”