When Toyota unveiled the C-HR—first as a concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and then as a production-ready vehicle early this year—its aggressive design, dramatic interior and hybrid powertrain instantly attracted everyone’s attention. After all, it was a far cry from the safe styling and humdrum dynamics of the Toyota of old.
And with the subcompact crossover class fast becoming a popular choice among today’s car buyers as evidenced by the number of EcoSports, HR-Vs and Jukes on the road, many assumed that Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) would be eager to capture a significant slice of the proverbial pie by bringing in the C-HR. Unfortunately, that may not be the case if what a source from the Japanese carmaker’s local office shared with us is true.
According to our source, TMP could very well pass up the C-HR because the higher-ups in the company believe it will just eat into the sales of the RAV4. Our source claims that since the RAV4 is a global model for Toyota, TMP is obligated to sell it and thus cannot remove and replace it with the C-HR, regardless of the fact that the RAV4 isn’t exactly selling like hotcakes. Unfortunately for TMP (and for us consumers), the C-HR seems to have the makings of another bestseller should it be marketed and distributed here (and should TMP price it right, of course).
There is a slim chance, however, that the C-HR could find its way here since the vehicle will reportedly be assembled in Thailand by either 2017 or 2018. Perhaps if there’s enough clamor for it in our market, TMP could bring it in anyway. After all, business is business, and it would be unwise to ignore the opportunity.
The C-HR is currently on sale in Europe and is available with either a 1.8-liter hybrid mill or a 1.2-liter turbocharged engine, although some markets will reportedly get a beefier 2.0-liter version. The C-HR also serves as the debut platform for a first for Toyota: sequential turn signal lights in the headlight housing with 12 LED lights beaming up from the inside to the outside.
Let’s cross our fingers.