After decades of sitting out of the action in the Honda CR-V dominated SUV segment, it appears that the Toyota RAV4 will finally be making a return to Malaysia. According to a report by the Bangkok Post, Toyota Thailand is considering locally assembly of the all-new Toyota RAV4. If the project materialises, it’s quite certain that the model will also be introduced in Malaysia.
With sales of D-segment models like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord falling, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Currently, Toyota’s only answer to the mid- to large-size SUV segment is the truck-based Toyota Fortuner, which is not quite an answer to more refined, passenger car-based SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.
The all-new fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 was introduced at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The right-hand drive version of the RAV4 was recently launched at the 2019 Singapore Motor Show, though that model is imported from Japan.
As reported back in 2017, Toyota Thailand was ready to move into the production of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), as the Thai Board of Investment is currently luring local car manufacturers with incentives to produce vehicles with some form of electrification.
The Toyota Fortuner is currently slapped with a 20% excise tax, while the upcoming RAV4 could benefit with a lower 4% tax, assuming that it is offered with a hybrid powertrain that emits no more than 100g/km of CO2. Despite that, the hybrid version of the RAV4 is likely to be limited to Thailand, similar to the Thailand-assembled C-HR Hybrid.
The report by Bangkok Post also mentioned that Toyota has been wanting to upgrade its Thai assembly plant with more advanced technologies. Production capacity for the RAV4 could be feasible as some production of the Fortuner could be shifted to Toyota’s Indonesian plant in Kerawang.
However, there is also a possibility that the all-new RAV4 could be assembled at Toyota’s Bukit Raja facility, which currently only assembles the new Vios. More models are expected to be assembled at the new plant.