EXCLUSIVE! Toyota’s IMV 0 platform could spawn affordable version of Fortuner


Standing in one corner of Toyota’s booth at the Japan Mobility Show and in direct contrast to the stunning FT-Se electric sportscar concept is the old-school ladder-frame and ICE-powered IMV 0 concept. True to Toyota’s commitment to offer diverse products for diverse needs and applications, the IMV 0 is for those consumers who don’t need or want EVs, not yet at least.

In fact, the IMV 0 has its origins in the IMV project, which built legends like the Hilux, Fortuner and Innova.

The IMV 0 too has been conceived as a pick-up but the concept comes with new-age thinking to give “boundless customisation possibilities”. The single-cab chassis has a modular design that allows multiple bodies for different uses and applications to be bolted on to the flat-bed section. It can be made into a food truck, a coffee bar, a camper for safaris and even a mountain rescue ambulance. The boxy design has a charming retro twist that is part of its appeal.

Toyota IMV 0 platform: Affordability at its core

However, affordability is at the core of the IMV 0 and its creation is an admission by Toyota that its pick-ups and SUVs have become too expensive. “Over time, with additional features and regulations, the price went up and some of our original customers cannot afford our products. That is the reason we have now decided to introduce a new concept which we call the IMV 0 that can serve the needs of everyday people and give them new opportunities,” said Yoshiki Konishi, president, Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing (TDEM), on the sidelines of the motor show.

To keep costs in check, Toyota has used the tried-and-tested IMV platform as the base for IMV 0 and will eke out more cost efficiencies through design optimisation, lighter materials and rationalisation of the equipment and features. In fact, slashing the features and equipment will be the main cost-saving measures, but will the customer accept that?

“We have to be smart about what keep and what we take out,” says Hao Quoc Tien, president of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP), adding that many IMV 0 customers in the ASEAN region will use the pick-up for sheer utility and will be willing to sacrifice some features for a price benefit.

A more affordable Fortuner?

Quoc Tien also hinted that the IMV 0 may not be limited to just pick-ups and there could be an SUV body style on it just like we have the Fortuner on the current IMV platform. “That is a different project and we are cooking something right now,” he said.

With the on-road prices of the Fortuner crossing a ludicrous Rs 60 lakh in some states, there is a strong case for a more affordable option and the IMV 0 seems the perfect platform to offer one. But what will it be? It won’t necessarily be smaller, but it could have fewer features and the smaller (and cheaper) 2.4-litre diesel from the Innova instead of the Fortuner’s 2.8-litre diesel to keep costs in check. The IMV 0 will also get a strong hybrid option, possibly a more powerful version of the 2.0 hybrid in the Innova Hycross. There is no EV version planned as the body-on-frame structure of the IMV 0 makes it difficult to support electrification.

The IMV 0 pick-up will be launched in 2025 and will essentially serve the ASEAN region where pick-ups are powerful. The pick-up version will likely come to India too as a cheaper alternative to the over-priced Hilux. There’s no official talk of the SUV variant but we expect it to come a year after the pick-up. At what price it comes at remains to be seen.

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