Toyota has reported that user-choosers are abandoning traditional saloon models in favour of small 4x4s. David Hilbert, brand manager at Toyota GB, told BusinessCar that company car drivers were deserting upper medium or D-segment models in favour of compact 4x4s.

“That is a trend we’re seeing,” he said. “A lot of D-segment customers are going to a compact SUV.

“We’re going to get a lot of inflow from the D-segment Avensis to the Rav4. Now that we’ve got two-wheel drive [the Rav4 was previously four-wheel drive only], we want that to bring new customers to the brand.”

Hilbert also said the firm was exploring the possibility of a new sporting sub-brand or styling pack off the back of the popularity of its GT86 sports car, launched last year. “

We’re looking at [a sub brand] as an opportunity going forward with things like the ‘T-mesh’ grille from the GT86. It’s just about how you leverage that impact across the brand. We’ve done it already for Lexus with F-Sport. We’re looking at the GT86 and considering the implication of that.”