In October 2019, the 1st Toyota Hilux pickup rolled off the newly commissioned assembly line at the Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) in Mombasa. The new line which is projected to create an initial 200 jobs out of the production of 1,200 units in the first year of operation, marked the return of the local assembling of the Hilux pickup that had been discontinued in 2005.
Toyota Kenya adds Hilux pickup to its locally assembled models that include the versatile Toyota Landcruiser pick-up that is renowned in the Tourism Industry and national security services, the Hino 500 and 300 truck series at AVA Mombasa, and Yamaha motor bikes in Nairobi.
Through the investment in local assembly, Toyota Kenya has created opportunities for some of the vehicle components to be produced locally. The local assembly will work very closely with Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota South Africa Motors engineers, on Technological transfer and skills upgrade of the technical staff as part of Toyota’s Best-practice sharing to the local communities in the markets where it operates.
The motor dealer says the decision to set in motion the local assembly of the Hilux pickup was informed by the model’s rising popularity among Kenyans. Statistics indicate that the Toyota Hilux accounts for about 39% of the total new vehicles market pick up segment in Kenya and hence would benefit more consumers in this fast-growing segment that supports business-to-customer operations and the small and medium enterprises. The statistics indicate a 5% growth in the new market segment compared to same period last year.
The return of the local assembly of the Hilux pick-up coincides with the 50th year celebration of the Hilux. This is a vehicle that was made to be tough and becoming a reliable partner to customers.
The Hilux debuted in March 1968 as a new bonnet-type truck with a 1.5-liter engine and a 4-speed manual transmission with a column shifter. The second-generation Hilux was placed on the market in May 1972 with the addition of the highway model fitted with a 2.0-liter engine. The third-generation Hilux in 1978, fourth generation in 1983, the fifth generation in 1988, the sixth generation in 1997 and the seventh-generation in 2004 Whilst the current model is the Eighth generation of Hilux.
The entire development concept for the eighth-generation Hilux was centered on ‘redefining toughness,’ with the aim of making the new Hilux ‘tougher’ based on a much broader interpretation of that word.