The likes of Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Ford are Australia’s biggest car brands for a reason – they offer the types of cars we want to buy.
But, as successful as they are, in a market as competitive as Australia, they are always looking for something new to bring even more appeal to their line-ups.
To help them we’ve scoured the world and found a new model from an overseas market that we think would provide a boost to what are already successful brands.
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The Japanese giant is already in command of the local market, comfortably out-selling the competition with its diverse range of SUVs, utes, commercials and passenger cars. So what could Toyota possibly add at this stage that would make a difference?
The Tundra, of course. The US-built pick-up is already an obvious absence from its Australian range, and it will only get more obvious in 2023 when Ford begins selling the F-150 in Australia, competing against the already available Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500.
How long can Toyota Australia afford to miss out on what is a growing – and very lucrative – part of the ute market…
hyundai santa cruz
Speaking of the ute market, the most obvious candidate for Hyundai Australia’s expanded range is the Santa Cruz ute. As we’ve written in the past, the Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson SUV, so it’s more about appealing to a certain image and adventurous lifestyle, rather than taking on the likes of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
And that’s fine. In fact, it’s arguably the best way for Hyundai to enter the ute market, offering something different rather than taking on the established players head-on. The Santa Cruz would make a great addition to the local line-up, adding some fun and practicality into the range.
It would also pave the way for Hyundai to take on the HiLux, Ranger and co. when its long-rumored dual-cab ute eventually arrives…
While Hyundai has enjoyed having the Palisade large SUV in its line-up, giving it a much-headed alternative to the Toyota Prado, Kia hasn’t been so lucky.
The Telluride is built on the same platform as the Palisade, but because it’s made in the USA and not South Korea it’s off-limits to Kia Australia. However, looking at Kia’s comprehensive range – which includes passenger cars and a broad variety of SUVs – a large, eight-seat SUV is arguably the only major missing piece.
Adding the Telluride would round out Kia’s SUV line-up that would stretch from the pint-sized Stonic through the Niro, Seltos, Sportage and Sorento, as well as the all-electric EV6. It’s arguably the only area for significant volume growth for the brand… until it launches a dual-cab ute.
Ford Bronco Sports
Now that Ford has confirmed it will begin selling the F-150 in Australia starting in 2023 the next obvious candidate would seemingly be the Bronco off-roader – but it’s not.
Instead, the new model Ford Australia should be clamoring to add to its showrooms is the compact Bronco Sport SUV. While the bigger Bronco would undoubtedly be a popular addition, the potential for overall volume in the off-roader market is limited compared to the compact SUV segment.
Not only would the Bronco Sport fit a more popular segment of the market, its rugged good looks and EcoBoost powertrains would certainly give it a better chance of attracting small SUV buyers to the blue oval; something that has been difficult with the Puma and Escape.
For a brand so reliant on the Ranger and Everest, adding a compact SUV that captures some of that rugged, adventurous spirit of the bigger models seems an obvious choice.
Subaru Australia management has already admitted it would love to add this SUV to its local range, but sadly it’s only left-hand drive only at present. Which is a crying shame for the brand because the potential is glaringly obvious (expect Subaru’s international management it seems).
The Ascent would give Subaru Australia a rival to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, with either seven- or eight-seat options. This would make it the ideal addition to the range alongside the mid-size Forester and large, but wagon-based Outback.
While Australians should be happy we get Subaru’s exciting models, like the BRZ and WRX, the reality is, if the brand wants to take a sales leap forward it needs a larger SUV like the Ascent.
The German brand has been on a mission in recent years to dramatically expand its small SUV line-up, adding the T-Roc and T-Cross underneath the Tiguan. What’s still missing though is a large, family-friendly SUV to slot between the Tiguan Allspace and luxurious Touareg.
Which is where the Atlas would make a fine addition to Volkswagen’s Australian range, slotting neatly between the two. There’s a significant price gap between the range-topping Tiguan Allspace (from $54,690) and the entry-level Touareg (from $84,990), which would give the Atlas plenty of room to play with.
While the Touareg would remain a luxury SUV alternative, the Atlas would give the brand a much-needed option to compete against the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe.