No, we're not kidding.
It seems Toyota Motor Philippines is planning to reintroduce one of their most popular models from the 1990's: the LiteAce. If you remember that from your childhood, then you're probably a tito as well, just like me.
Here's the interesting bit: based on what we've read and seen, Toyota hasn't mentioned the name LiteAce yet. So let me establish how we got to that conclusion. We received a very reliable tip -one that is backed up by some internal documents- that Toyota is conducting a study within their dealer network if there is demand from clients for something new.
Toyota hasn't referred to it by its nameplate, but they're calling it an A-CV. The letters are telling because it means A-segment Commercial Vehicle. That means they're looking at a cab-over (driver sits over the engine) business vehicle that would compete against a Suzuki Carry, Foton Gratour, Hyundai H100, Kia K2500, and Mitsubishi L300; those are actually the competitors that Toyota mentioned in the document we received.
They did not include a photo of the vehicle, but they did include black silhouettes/icons of the vehicle in question showing the different configurations ranging from dropside pick-up, panel van, cab and chassis, as well as utility van (FB type) and aluminum van conversions. Those will be the five main variants that Toyota will introduce.
The silhouette is interesting because it shows the snout (including the ledge on the hood) of the Toyota LiteAce in overseas markets. Actually, it's a rebadge of the Daihatsu Gran Max, meaning it would be the fifth Daihatsu model that will be marketed by Toyota Motor Philippines.
The specifications we got of the Toyota “A-CV” (based on the info we got) is as follows:
Configuration: Cabover vehicle
Dimensions (L x W x H): 4.19m x 1.67m x 1.89m
Turning Radius: 4.9m
Bed Dimensions: 2.35m x 1.58m
Payload: 1,050 to 1,075 kilograms
The file that we're reading didn't say where the vehicle would be imported from. While we do wish Toyota would manufacture such a model here, the most likely source country is Indonesia. If we look at what PT Astra Daihatsu is manufacturing in Indonesia, they do make the LiteAce/TownAce for Toyota on an export basis only. The other models they manufacture for our market are the small models like Wigo, Avanza, Rush, and Raize.
They plan to introduce the first two variants of the model in July 2022: the dropside pick-up and the panel van. In September 2022, they plan on launching the remaining three: cab and chassis, utility van, and aluminum van.
So, there you have it. Toyota is planning to introduce a new model, and all indications point to it being the LiteAce. As to whether they will actually use the LiteAce name is up to them, but we will definitely bet that they will.