Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) recently held its 35th Anniversary celebrations at Grand Hyatt Manila. Gracing the event is former CEO and current Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda, the man who injected fun back into the brand with his love for cars and motorsports. But the event was more than just a celebration of the present. That’s because Toyoda-san used this opportunity to announce and unveil that the Toyota Tamaraw is coming back to the Philippines in 2024.
Originally previewed in 2022 in Thailand as the IMV 0 (Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle), it uses a modified IMV platform that the Hilux, Fortuner, and (now diesel only) Innova use. Its goal is to be a versatile and affordable vehicle that is highly modular, easy to own as well as affordable to run. Basically, this is what the Tamaraw used to be, and it’s going to be revived in the Philippine market in 2024.
From the outside, the Toyota Tamaraw looks like a more affordable and basic version of the FJ Cruiser, which by utility car standards makes it quite a looker. Do note, however, that this is a concept car, and many of its radical design flourishes such as the LED daytime running lights probably won’t make it into the fleet-oriented utility models.
To showcase the Tamaraw’s versatility and modularity, two concepts were showcased. The first one is a sporty model with a lowered ride height, painted fender flares, a sporty front bumper, and even a roll cage and bucket seats. If this serves as a preview for an upcoming Tamaraw Cup, then I’m all for it! The other concept is a modern take on the classic jeepney. Still intended to be a Class 1 vehicle, the Tamaraw in public utility vehicle (PUV) form serves as another modern option for PUV operators in the country.
Since these are still prototypes, no other details have been revealed, such as the powertrain or what features it will get. However, because the Tamaraw is a highly-modular body-on-frame vehicle, the rear section of the chassis can be built to whatever the businesses, families, or PUV operators desire. These two vehicles are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible when purchasing your future Tamaraw.
“I truly believe this is a product that can enhance the quality of life for many people and provide new economic opportunities,” said Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda, who led the unveiling of the next-generation Tamaraw concept model. “At Toyota, we believe people come first. We believe in building cars to serve the real-life needs of our customers.”
Toyoda added, “I’m very proud of the fact, that in 2024, for the first time ever, IMV vehicles such as the Next Generation Tamaraw, will be produced as CBUs right here in the Philippines at our Santa Rosa plant. This represents an additional investment by Toyota of P4.4 billion.”
The Toyota Tamaraw will be the third completely knocked down (CKD) model to be produced in TMP’s Santa Rosa plant which also manufactures the Vios and Innova models. The introduction of the Tamaraw will help sustain TMP’s production operations, while localization of the model will also allow TMP to respond to the specific conversion requirements and specialized needs of Philippine customers.