Ford's caliente version of the Ranger is expected to arrive next year in Australia, South Africa, and East Asia markets. Toyota Australia's Sean Hanley sees the market that Ford is targeting as a blind spot for Toyota, as evidenced in an interview with Car Advice, in which he spoke of the possibility of Toyota launching its own rival to the incoming Ford performance truck. Hanley sees the TRD and SR5 packages for the company's midsize Hilux pickup as inadequate competition for the Ranger Raptor, stating that the Hilux's performance packages don't exceed "level three," and opening up the possibility of a still-higher tier of Hilux.
"Clearly there’s a gap for us,” said Hanley, according to Car Advice. “We don’t have the ‘level four,’" he said in reference to the Ranger Raptor. Despite strong Hilux sales, Hanley is worried Toyota will miss out on the demographic that is interested in the upcoming Ford.
"[...] It is clear to us that the demand sits one step above that level three now, which is our SR5. We’ve been able to fill that gap somewhat with our TRD vehicle, and we certainly understand that in the future, we’ll have to examine very closely what we do to fill that gap to ensure that our number-one selling car continues to hold that momentum in the future.”
Car Advice speculates that the line-topping Hilux could use the recently-launched Gazoo Racing brand, though, like Gazoo, the potential Hilux Gazoo is likely not destined for US markets, as the Hilux is not sold stateside. It could, in theory, be based upon the toy-inspired Hilux Tonka concept shown off back in March, or the similar remote-controlled Hilux Bruiser from October.
Toyota's fascination with toy-themed Hilux one-offs probably has nothing whatsoever to do with the potential development of a Hilux Gazoo. We couldn't say we'd be surprised to see a Hilux Hasbro next, though.