It seems that Daihatsu is finally putting the DNGA platform through its paces with a hybrid variant of their compact crossover.
All the news may be focused on the fact that Perodua is on the cusp of launching the Ativa - the most exciting, intricate, and complex model that they've ever produced. Even with all of that in mind, something else has popped up on the radar - and that's the fact that Daihatsu has officially announced a hybrid variant of the Rocky - sister car to the Ativa - due for launch by the end of 2021.
The hybrid model will borrow technology from parent company, Toyota, and will be their first foray into hybrid vehicles in over a decade since their Hijet commercial vehicle that ceased production in 2010. Hybrid models are naturally fairly expensive, which is antithetical to Daihatsu's budget-friendly approach to motoring.
If that sounds strange to you, know that Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world where hybrid models are cheaper than our conventional models. There is also the fact that the DNGA platform is designed with electrification in mind, which means that something like this was already in the cards since the introduction of the platform a couple of years ago.
As is the case with most extreme developments, Daihatsu's move is likely to be driven by government regulations. As is politically correct, Japan intends to reach carbon neutrality in the next 30 years - and part of that involved completely killing off petrol vehicles by 2035. The hybrid could be the gateway drug to full electrification, and may be preparing both their production and aftersales facilities to handle it.
The fact that the technology is adapted from Toyota's strong portfolio of products and components, there is even the possibility that the hybrid Rocky could run on pure electric power alone, in addition to hybrid power delivery with the petrol engine in tandem. Throw in a plug-in system, and you just might have the perfect low-emission city car.