2021 is a critical year for Toyota Motor Philippines. After the major impact of the pandemic on the local economy, the work stoppages, and quarantine restrictions in 2020, Toyota picked up the pace to recover the ground they lost.
They are set to achieve 129,000 sales this year, just 1000 shy of their initial target of 130,000. The intention is to return sales to pre-pandemic levels; in 2019, they achieved 162,000+ unit sales. Much of this recovery is due to the many new model introductions in 2021, particularly with improvements to existing product lines (e.g. Fortuner) as well as the launch of a wide variety of GR Sport variants.
2022 is already looking busy for TMP. We were able to get information that Toyota is working on introducing the all-new Avanza MPV. This new generation model has many distinct differences from its predecessor beyond the design and features; this Avanza will be front-wheel drive and will have a CVT, among others. The other big news is that Toyota will also launch the Raize subcompact crossover, and will likely be a force in that class if the price and features are right.
And during the media lunch with TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto, the launch of both models early next year was confirmed. But based on the tip we got from our sources, there is one more model slated for early 2022, and it's a big one.
According to our contacts, Toyota Motor Philippines is planning to launch a new Alphard next year. That information is based on a peek we got at Toyota's new model launch calendar, and one of the rows there shows that a new Alphard will be arriving at local showrooms come March 2022.
The current generation Alphard has been in production in Japan since 2015, and it has proven to be a very strong seller for Toyota in the Philippines. Vans, after all, are very popular here. While 6 years may seem like a long time for a model generation, it would be logical to hypothesize that the 2022 Alphard will be a new generation model. But the acronym on the calendar doesn't support that theory.
Carmakers like Toyota like to use certain abbreviations and acronyms to indicate a model's status. In the case of Toyota, they use abbreviations like FMC (full model change or new generation/all-new), MC (minor change or facelift/update, N (new model or new nameplate), as well as IMP (improved or new features/new variants).
In the Alphard row on the calendar, it says the current model which is the IMP ALPHARD 2020 (Improved Alphard launched in 2020) will be phased out in favor of an IMP ALPHARD 2022. What that tells us is that the incoming model will be a product improvement.
Based on that, there is the possibility that the 2022 model will not be a facelift; rather it will likely be a new variant and with new features. If I was to make a calculated guess given how the wind is blowing for Toyota, it is possible that the 2022 Alphard will have the blingy package they have in Japan (Alphard S Type Gold). I wouldn't bank on a “GR Sport” version of the Alphard.
But what I would put my money on is that Toyota could finally launch the hybrid version of the Alphard. Toyota did change their strategy for the Camry and went for a Camry Hybrid, and that could be what we will see for the Alphard. Until Toyota makes its official announcement, we'll just have to wait and see.