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What to do when you're about to discontinue a top-selling model and you have nothing in R&D to replace it?
You look around for your top-selling rival in the segment, persuade them to put your badge on some of their vehicles and voila! You have a new model.
And so, the next generation of Toyota Hi-Ace van to be sold in Europe will actually be a Peugeot Expert/Citroën Jumpy with a "T" badge.
Yesterday Toyota Europe and PSA Peugeot Citroën announced that PSA, with huge excess capacity it needs to utilise, would begin supplying medium-sized vans for sale in Europe under the Toyota brand from the second quarter of 2013.
The agreement also includes collaboration on the next generation of the Expert/Jumpy, and is expected to stretch beyond 2020. There are no plans for the two companies to enter into capital tie-ups or joint production, but Toyota Europe will help with the development and set-up costs for the next generation of PSA vans.
COMING TO SOUTH AFRICA?
The current version of the Expert/Jumpy is available in South Africa under the Peugeot banner; according to Toyota SA no decision has yet been made as to whether the 2013 Hi-Ace will be released in here. It seems unlikely, however, given that it the outgoing Hi-Ace is not marketed locally, having been replaced by the Quantum, which is now also assembled in South Africa as the Ses'fikile minibus.
This is, of course, not the first tie-up between Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroën; the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroën C1 are all the same car, made in the same factory, with different badges and bumpers.
Ironically, the three main rivals for the new Hi-Ace/Expert/Jumpy are also clones, since the Opel Vivaro and the Nissan Primastar are nothing more than rebadged Renault Trafic vans, even though production is split between the Vauxhall plant in Luton, England and a Nissan plant in Barcelona.
Seems the motor industry is becoming increasingly incestuous as market conditions get tougher.