Like you, we just can't wait to get out of this lockdown or ECQ and get started. But the quarantine is giving us some time to reconnect with family, friends, and insider sources over at Toyota's major manufacturing hub for South East Asia: Thailand.
We just received a document detailing Toyota's production plans at their factories in Thailand, giving us a clearer picture of what the company is doing to mitigate the pandemic, as well as their plans to start production for new models in the very near future.
We were asked to not publish the document, but we can tell you that Toyota Daihatsu Engineering & Manufacturing (TDEM) and Toyota Motor Thailand (which is headed by Michinobu Sugata, the former president of Toyota Motor Philippines) are extending the shut down of some of their factories up to the second week of May. We were informed that the lines for the Fortuner and Hilux will remain shut down until May 9, while the passenger car lines will be shut down until May 12.
Toyota Motor Thailand has three factories: Gateway produces passenger vehicles (i.e. Yaris, Vios, Corolla, Camry, etc.) while Samrong and Bang Pho produce frame-based vehicles (i.e. Hilux).
The document also showed that TDEM is planning to start production on new models. Management is stating that departments should maintain readiness for the restart of vehicle production, but to stay advised of the latest updates regarding the business environment that is referred to as “volatile”.
But what really piqued our interest is a section referred to as “New project” wherein TDEM outlines the production start, plans, and locations for new models, albeit in internal Toyota model codes: 645B, 740B, 965B, and 535B.
Our source tells us that code 645B is the facelifted Toyota Hilux and 535B is the upgraded Toyota Yaris. 965B is a bit of a mystery so we're told, but the unusual bit is the 740B: apparently it's the new Toyota compact SUV supposedly based on the Corolla platform.
Based on the paper, 645B (Hilux) was originally supposed to start production in May 2020, but that will be delayed by 1 month to June 2020.
Our source also tells us that the redesigned Fortuner will also likely start production at that time, though it is likely production for models headed here will still be in Indonesia. The Philippine market gets its supply of CBU Fortuners from Indonesia.
740B, 965B, and 535B MLM will be produced at Gateway passenger car plant, but this has yet to be confirmed.
So, if you're in the market for a new car, pick-up, or SUV once the ECQ is over, there are plenty of new options coming from Toyota over the horizon.