The next-gen 2022 Toyota Alphard launch is programmed in the second half of next year, said a report from bestcarweb.jp in June 2021. Now, Mag-X has reported that Toyota may postpone the new Alphard launch, claims an article on creative311.com.
According to the new report, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage, supply issues related to the traction battery could defer the hybrid van’s launch. Toyota faced the same problem in the case of the RAV4 Prime (RAV4 PHV/RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid) launch last year, because of which it had halted new orders at one point. If the reporting is accurate, we may not see the unveil of the new Alphard before the very end of 2022.
In February 2021, bestcarweb.jp said that Toyota would integrate the Vellfire into the Alphard family next year. A separate Vellfire minivan would cease to exist, and in its place would come the Alphard with new grades and different styling, the Japanese site claimed.
Note that Toyota Motor has not provided guidance on the product plan of its Japanese MPVs, and the information is unofficial.
2022 Toyota Alphard to gain new hybrid system, ride on a ‘high’ TNGA platform
In October 2020, bestcarweb.jp said that the next-gen Toyota Alphard would be based on a high version of the TNGA platform. Expect it to feature a dramatic design gaining aggressive front and rear fascias. The Alphard needs to move up the ladder in the new generation and serve Vellfire customers who look for boldness in design.
The TNGA platform would allow a low center of gravity and offer greater stability and reduced body roll. One can expect hydraulic engine mounts for minimized vibration and noise and thus a smoother ride. The TNGA platform is expected to improve maneuverability to a point where Toyota is motivated to release a GR Sport variant in the fourth generation, the Japanese report notes.
The 2022 Toyota Alphard hybrid will employ a new full-hybrid system borrowed from the Toyota Harrier (Toyota Venza) and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. This hybrid system uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. Its engine produces 178 PS of power and 22.5 kg.m (221 Nm) of torque, and its motor generates 120 PS of power and 20.6 kg.m (202 Nm) of torque.
Why would Toyota discontinue the Vellfire?
The Vellfire is present in the Toyota line-up since the Alphard entered its second generation in 2008, as its more stylish and fancier companion. Japan is the main market for the Alphard and Toyota Vellfire, made popular through Toyopet and Netz dealers. Here, sales of the Alphard are four times that of the Vellfire.
In 2020, Toyota delivered 90,748 units of the Alphard in Japan, averaging 7,500 units/month, to become the best-selling vehicle in its segment. The sales data of the Vellfire for the entire year isn’t available, but between January and August, the average monthly sales were just 1,652 units. Toyota is trimming its vehicle line-up and plans to discontinue the same models with individual identities that are not performing. One of these is the Vellfire, bestcarweb reported.
Earlier this year, the Alphard was selling at a rate of more than 10,000 units per month. However, monthly sales dropped sharply to 7,576 units in April and further to 5,947 units in May, but that doesn’t mean the bubble has burst. In fact, there was a minor model change in May (discussed below) and Toyota dealers went on a break during Golden Week, bestcarweb.jp reported on 27 June 2021. The MY2021 refresh should bring sales back up in the second half of the year.
Toyota launches 2021 Alphard & 2021 Vellfire
The current-gen Toyota Alphard and Toyota Vellfire received a small refresh for MY2021 in the Japanese market earlier this year. This is presumably the last update for the Alphard in the third generation, while for the Vellfire, this might be the last update before production is discontinued. The updated minivans went on sale on 10 May. Below are the changes Toyota brought with the MY2021 update:
- Power-sliding doors with one-touch switches and accessory outlets made standard in both models.
- Foldable headrest added to the front passenger seat of the Alphard’s Executive Lounge and Executive Lounge S trims for increasing the visibility from the rear seat.
- Vellfire Golden Eyes II launched at JPY 42,40,000-50,88,400 (USD 38,798-46,561).
- Alphard Type Gold II (based on Vellfire S) special edition model with Sunburst Gold wood grain panels and gold surrounds interior launched at JPY 42,40,000-50,88,400 (USD 38,798-46,561).
- Select Alphard configurations discontinued (G 2.5 gasoline, G 2.5 hybrid, S 2.5 hybrid, SR 2.5 hybrid).
- All Vellfire configurations discontinued (Vellfire available in only Golden Eyes II special edition model now).
- Select Alphard colours discontinued (Luxury White Pearl Crystal Shine Glass Flake & Steel Blonde Metallic).
- Select Vellfire colours discontinued (Sparkling Black Pearl Crystal Shine and Burning Black Crystal Shine).
Featured image: BestCar magazine