40 Hoorahs for Hilux
The Toyota Hilux was yet again a winner at the FOCUS on Excellence Awards, sponsored by WesBank. After 40 years of unrivalled success in South Africa, the Hilux continues to move from strength to strength.
It could be said the FOCUS on Excellence award for Best LCV, might as well be called the FOCUS on Excellence award for Hilux. Because over the past five years the awards have been running, no one has been able to come close to claiming the title from Toyota.
There is a reason that you cannot drive on the teeniest of South Africa’s roads without seeing a Hilux – they are everywhere. South Africans adore this vehicle, and this is reflected in the fact that the Toyota Hilux is the highest selling vehicle in the country, by far outshining its closest competitors.
As with any success story in Africa, the key to the Toyota Hilux’s undeniable edge is its ability to be all things to all people, and adapt to whatever is required of it. The bakkie is not just popular with farmers needing any old LCV, the luxury models are even seen as status symbols amongst inner-city slickers.
This year is a special one for Hilux as it is celebrating its 40th year of roaring success in the country. As part of the celebrations, a total of 495 Hilux 4x4s gathered on the Atlantis dunes north of Cape Town, on the eve of the 4 Wheel Drive Club of Western Cape’s annual 4×4 Fun Day, setting a new world record, approved by a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records.
It was a true commemoration of 40 years of excellence, with first-generation 4x4s present along with record holders, such as the Hilux in which Toyota set the first and fastest 72-hour endurance record, as well as several of the South African-built 44 and 38-inch Arctic Truck Hilux bakkies that have recently set off on their tour of duty in Antarctica. Incidentally, the first of these vehicles has just successfully reached the South Pole after journeying more than 2 000 km over icy terrain.
Other 4x4s present were a large number of Hilux Legend 40s, a limited edition vehicle introduced by Toyota specifically to celebrate its birthday. The vehicles were so in demand that the “limit” of the production had to be somewhat extended – all the available units were sold before the first production run ended.
Commenting on the attendance at the Fun Day, Len von Graevenitz, vice-president: sales and dealer network at Toyota South Africa, says, “The response to our call to action is clear evidence of the special bond between the Hilux and their owners. We will continue to nurture this bond through our comprehensive local dealer network, local development and our unwavering attention to quality, our technical support throughout Africa, and by supporting the strong resale value that the Hilux offers.”
To broaden the appeal of the indomitable Hilux even further, two Xtra Cab models will be added to the range in January 2011. The 4×4 and 4×2 Raised Body Xtra Cab derivatives will have 3.0 D-4D power and should prove popular with outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts as well as small businessmen who need a dual work/private vehicle. Lifestyle accessories such as a fishing rod rack, refrigerator and bicycle rack will be available specifically for the Xtra Cab.
The Hilux truly is well-deserving of an award celebrating excellence, and this year’s FOCUS on Excellence award comes as no surprise. Kerry Roodt, general manager of marketing communications at Toyota, says, “Our continued success would not be possible without our dealers and our loyal customers, so a big thank you needs to be paid to them.”