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Toyota “looking at options” to bring new Hilux Champ to South Africa

At its annual State of the Motoring Industry (Somi) address, Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) said it is actively “looking at various options” to bring the new Hilux Champ into the country to compete in the affordable workhorse segment.

However, TSAM senior vice president of sales and marketing Leon Theron said that if the single cab launches locally it will only happen “much later” and that it is “not going to be called Champ.”

Speculation is rife that TSAM may revive its old Stallion nameplate for the Champ in South Africa, but any claims regarding the bakkie remain unconfirmed at this point.

The Champ launched in Thailand in November 2023 and is in development for over 180 markets around the globe as a more affordable and versatile offering than the fully-fledged Hilux, primarily targeting third-world nations where car price inflation is a serious concern.

Champ specifications

In the Thai market, the new Hilux Champ is available in 11 customised configurations across chassis cab and short (SWB) and long-wheelbase (LWB) versions, the wide variety of configurations intended to cater to numerous business and leisure use cases.

The dimensions of these body styles are as follows:

Dimension Chassis cab SWB LWB
Length 4,705mm 4,970mm 5,300mm
Width 1,785mm 1,785mm 1,785mm
Height 1,735mm 1,735mm 1,735mm
Wheelbase 2,750mm 2,750mm 3,085mm
Ground clearance 164mm 164mm 164mm

Depending on the derivative, the Toyota is equipped with a 2.0-litre or 2.7-litre petrol mill, or a 2.4-litre diesel, connected to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic shifter.

The petrol motors generate 102kW/183Nm or 122kW/245Nm, while the diesel puts out 110kW/400Nm.

Maximum payload capacity for the entire line-up is pegged at one tonne, and the bakkie’s rear deck provides bolt holes at various locations for custom accessories that can be easily attached using bolts and nuts.

In Thailand, the automaker can source more than 100 accessory manufacturers for each customer to tailor the Champ to their unique needs, it said.

The bakkie’s interior is rather barebones with electric windows, sliding and reclining seats, two speakers (but no radio), a 12V power outlet, and a manual aircon being the highlights.

It also gets LED daytime running lights, 14-inch steel wheels, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, and two airbags, while the flagship model comes with LED projector headlights, too.

In Thailand, pricing for the Champ ranges from 459,000 to 577,000 baht, which equates to approximately R242,000 to R305,000 at current exchange rates.

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