Better late than never, or so the saying goes. Toyota will jump on the aluminium bandwagon for real in the near future, making the costly shift from steel to the lighter material for high-volume vehicles. First to benefit from this will be the 2016 Lexus RX, followed by the 2018 Toyota Camry – both all-new models.

We’re not talking about Audi- or Jaguar-style all-aluminium construction here, of course, but simpler applications such as aluminium bonnets and boot closures. As confirmed to Automotive News USA by several sources, production is set to begin in 2017, with full output to be expected from 2018 onwards.

“Toyota has plans to use aluminium on future vehicles for hood, closures and [other] parts for lightweighting,” said Toyota USA official Jana Hartline. “Also, we will increase usage of mix metals and resin materials to enhance lightweighting efforts,” she added, no doubt a move related to the ever-tightening fuel economy and emissions requirements – driven by both the regulations and the consumer.

To be clear, quite a few Toyota models that are made in Japan already have aluminium parts, such as the Prius, 86 and most of the Lexus range. This move concerns models that are produced elsewhere (the US, mainly), like the USDM 2015 Toyota Camry pictured above. Care to guess if the models destined to come to Malaysia will get these weight-saving parts?

US-market 2015 Toyota Camry

2015 Toyota Camry