Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Car news, 05 June ’24: Toyota axes petrol SUVs and passenger cars, Ford Ranger tops the sales charts, and more

Olek Novak

Every important car news story breaking today, one convenient read

Thanks for joining us this Wednesday June 5th 2024. Notably in car news today: Toyota Australia axes petrol powertrain from its SUV and passenger car models, Ford Ranger tops the sales charts for a record month, and more.

Browse this issue:

Toyota axes petrol-only cars and SUVs wherever a hybrid is also available

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD Hybrid 2022 thumbnail
The RAV4 is one of several Toyotas that will now be available exclusively as a hybrid
  • Toyota has announced it will discontinue pure-petrol variants across all models where hybrid-electric vehicles are currently available.
  • The announcements means that the RAV4 midsize SUV, the Corolla Sedan, the Corolla Cross small SUV and Kluger large SUV will join the Yaris Cross small SUV, Corolla small and Yaris compact hatches, the C-HR small SUV and Camry sedan in being offered exclusively with hybrid powertrains across their lineups. 
  • The move means that cost of entry will rise across all affected models, with the base model hybrids – commanding a $2500 price premium over base petrol counterparts in the case of the RAV4 and Corolla Cross SUVs – becoming the entry point to each nameplate. 
  • Toyota’s purely petrol-powered performance models including the GR Supra, GR86, GR Corolla and GR Yaris are unaffected by the move, as are all Land Cruiser, Prado and Fortuner SUVs and the Hilux ute.
  • So far this year, 46.6 percent of all Toyotas sold have been hybrids (up from 33.5 percent across all of 2023) and models such as the RAV4 consistently post a hybrid share of sales greater than 90 percent.

READ MORE: Toyota Australia drops petrol engines wherever a hybrid is also available

Record new-vehicle deliveries in May as Toyota and Ford dominate

2023 Ford Ranger Raptor in code orange with a black leather interior
The Ford Ranger continues to dominate Australian sales charts
  • A new vehicle delivery record was set in May, with 111,099 units rolling into customer driveways – the all-time best result for the month. 
  • Toyota was once again the dominant brand with 23,389 deliveries recorded, followed by Ford on 8806, pushing Mazda into third place (8002), followed by Kia (7504) and Hyundai (6495).
  • Australia’s most popular vehicle was once again the Ford Ranger ute (5912), which was followed by its arch-nemesis, the Toyota Hilux (5702), then Toyota RAV4 midsize SUV (5517), Isuzu D-Max (2612) and Toyota Land Cruiser (2578). 
  • Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles saw solid increases, delivering 15.8 percent market share (compared to 7.9 percent last year), with electric vehicles increasing to 8.1 percent market share, compared to 7.7 percent for the same month last year. 

READ MORE: What are Australia’s most popular cars?

Toyota, Honda and Mazda admit safety testing errors

Toyota Yaris Cross GR Sport hybrid 2023 driving front 10
Shipments have paused for the Toyota Yaris Cross until the Japanese government clears Toyota’s safety compliance
  • It has been revealed that several major Japanese automotive brands including Toyota, Honda and Mazda have failed to comply with government safety standards on thousands of vehicles delivered to customers, prompting a pause in shipment on several nameplates, including the Yaris Cross small SUV available locally.
  • Reuters reports that Japan’s transport ministry said that the brands were found to have either manipulated or submitted incorrect test data when applying for certification of certain vehicles in tests conducted over the last decade. 
  • While an investigation is continuing – including an on-site inspection of Toyota’s headquarters – details reported so far in overseas media including Automotive News state that Toyota undertook testing that it claims was more stringent than that required by the Japanese government, however it did so without obtaining the required approval.
  • Of the current-generation vehicles affected by the safety breach, only the Yaris Cross is sold locally by Toyota, with orders paused until government officials in Japan confirm compliance.

  • Toyota Australia has told Chasing Cars “we are advised that none of the Yaris Cross SUVs currently for sale or operating on Australian roads has any safety or performance issues”, while Mazda Australia has told Chasing Cars that none of its locally sold vehicles are affected by the news. 

BMW unveils ‘new-generation’ 1 Series

  • BMW has pulled the covers off what it’s calling a new fourth-generation ‘F70’ 1 Series small hatchback, bringing with it revised exterior styling, updated powertrains, and new interior revamp when it goes on sale in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • While it’s being called a new fourth-generation instead of a mid-life facelift, the design is a reworking of the F40 1 Series that has been on sale since 2019, sporting a restyled body with a new grille, headlights and tail-lights as well as larger dimensions overall.
  • Two variants will be available at launch including the 118 and M135 xDrive, which adopt BMW’s new numeral-only naming conventions for ICE models, and which both get power bumps on their previous iterations.
  • Substantial changes follow through to the interior, which gets BMW’s latest Operating System 9 technology, a new steering wheel, and the integration of BMW’s dual curved displays for the driver instrument cluster and central media display. 

READ: Extended coverage of the new 1 Series reveal

Toyota Prado hybrid looking uncertain for Australia on towing and emissions grounds

The launch of a hybrid Land Cruiser Prado in Australia appears uncertain
  • While the new-generation Land Cruiser Prado 250 Series is available with a turbo petrol hybrid engine globally, Toyota has revealed why the vehicle looks uncertain for Australia, despite much of the automaker’s lineup switching to exclusively hybrid powertrains. 
  • Firstly, there are concerns that the Prado hybrid’s fuel economy and towing credentials aren’t compelling enough to entice Australians to go hybrid over a diesel.
  • Secondly, Toyota would need to sell a significant volume of over 10,000 per year for the hybrid to justify its costs to build the vehicle in right-hand drive. 
  • Thirdly – and perhaps most problematically – the Prado hybrid sold overseas might not help Toyota lower its average CO2 emissions – which are a critical measurement under Australia’s upcoming New Vehicle Emissions Standards (NVES) – because the powertrain is more focused on power and refinement rather than cutting fuel economy. 

READ MORE: Toyota Prado hybrid uncertain for Australia extended coverage 

Mazda 3 G20 Evolve Hatch reviewed

  • Chasing Cars journalist Olek Novak’s review of the 2024 Mazda 3 G20 Evolve Hatch was published, revisiting the ageing small car that no longer dominates the Australian sales charts the way it used to.

  • Novak found that whilst the Mazda 3 isn’t a perfect small car, the G20 Evolve Hatch was a likeable, sporty and fun-to-drive vehicle, also noting a standout interior which is dating well five years post launch.
  • While Novak found there was a lot to like about the 3, drawbacks that may put off some buyers are the dark interior, significant rear blind spots, and firm ride
  • Overall, Novak applauded the fact that the Mazda 3 runs its own race with its focus on style, driving dynamics and quality interior, noting that while it may not appeal to all buyers, the fact that it exists as an alternative to what can sometimes feel like a ‘sea of sameness’ in the small passenger car and SUV world, is a good thing.

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Thursday 6th June at 4.30pm Sydney time.