There's an interesting development in the PUV Modernization Program that is being championed by the administration of President Duterte, as it seems that the number one automaker in the Philippines is joining the program.
Yes, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is fielding an entry into the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the photos in this article shows the vehicle they will be selling.
As you can see, Toyota has built their modern PUV around their pick-up model: the Hilux. Interestingly though, Toyota is using the previous generation Hilux, rather than the new generation model that was first launched in 2016.
From what we can tell based on the photos, Toyota used a cab and chassis variant of the single-cab Toyota Hilux, and commissioned a body builder to produce a cabin that meets the specifications set by the government. Presumably, they are using the Class 1 guidelines for the PUVMP.
We have known that Toyota has been in contact with the government for the PUV Modernization program as early as May 2019, though our contact says that it was in June and July of this year that Toyota's work has really taken off. The model you see in these photos was presented by Toyota executives such as TMP Chairman Alfred Ty and TMP President Satoru Suzuki to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade in August 2019.
The entry of Toyota looks different because unlike other manufacturers which use a cab wherein the driver and front passengers sit over the engine, the Hilux has a long hood with an engine bay which sacrifices the available space in the back of the cabin for another body.
Nevertheless, the vehicle can reportedly seat 13 persons, has headroom to allow average height individuals to stand. Has a side door, and is supposed to be PWD-friendly. The body is still in the prototype stage as evidenced by markings on the body to show where a glass window would go, among others.
Our source says that the vehicle will tentatively be priced at below PhP 1 million, making it one of the lowest priced PUV Modernization Program contenders that we know of, if not outright the most affordable one.
It is, however, very worthy to note that being a Class 1 model, this Hilux-based modern PUV may or may not come with air conditioning. But it does have Wifi.