Should Daihatsu be re-introduced in PH?
Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines launched the 2022 Raize; an all-new subcompact crossover nameplate that will undoubtedly cause huge shockwaves in the budget SUV segment, particularly the ones from China.
The launch of the Raize, however, poses a rather unusual question: Why isn't Toyota relaunching the Daihatsu brand?
Daihatsu hasn't been present Philippine market for over 20 years. Be that as it may, there are models that are actually Daihatsu models being sold with the Toyota badge. The Avanza (Daihatsu Xenia) was the first in 2006, followed by the Wigo (Daihatsu Ayla) in 2014, and then the Rush (Daihatsu Terios) in 2018.
While it wears the T badge on the grille, the Philippine-market Raize is built by PT Astra Daihatsu Motor or ADM in Indonesia. The version that wears the D badge on the grille is the Daihatsu Rocky. Actually, the Rocky is the original while the Raize is the derivative. You can tell by looking at the platform: if it's the new generation platform by Toyota it will say TNGA, but if it's the Daihatsu version it will be DNGA.
The platforms are very closely related but made for the different requirements of the two brands (e.g. Daihatsu focuses on small affordable vehicles).
Daihatsu was present in the Philippine market back in the eighties and the nineties but faded out around the time of the Asian financial crisis. If memory serves, they had the Hijet (mini/microvan or truck), the Charade (mini hatchback), and the Feroza (mini 4x4).
Actually, the successors to those models are very much represented in local showrooms as the Raize and Rush are both descendants of the Feroza, the Wigo is the new Charade, and the Avanza fills the spot (kind of) of the multi-purpose Hijet microvan.
So why still Toyota and not Daihatsu? We actually posed that question to Toyota during the launch of the Raize, and the answer we got was that while Toyota and Daihatsu are part of the same group, both are treated as separate entities. For Daihatsu to be reintroduced, the discussion to even consider it will have to come from the very top.
In other words, it's most likely a no. It's actually unfortunate that there are no plans for a Daihatsu comeback, as the brand does have a small but very loyal following in the Philippines especially with the Feroza. That was the last real direct 4x4 competitor to the Suzuki Jimny which is also very popular.
For now (and for the foreseeable future), Toyota will likely continue marketing T-badged Daihatsu derivatives. The launch of the Raize nameplate also expanded the lineup of Toyota to 30 models that also include the GR Sport (GR-S) variants as distinct models.