Toyota Australia is continuing to pursue a business case to bring the left-hand drive, US-built Tundra pickup Down Under.
The company’s vice president Sean Hanley says he’s “envious” of his American colleagues who get to sell it.
Nevertheless, at this stage, there’s no set plan for Toyota Australia to secure it in right-hand drive for sales through its dealer network, to sit above the HiLux and battle the locally re-engineered Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado.
The brand-spanking new North American Tundra sits on the same bones as the LandCruiser 300 Series, and there’s crossover with their petrol and (potentially) their hybrid drivetrains.
So it’s a technically feasible proposition, it just comes down to bucks: in essence, can market-leader Toyota Australia sell a sufficient number to pay back the costs associated with just-for-us right-hand drive production?
“We are always evaluating… I’m envious. I’ve always maintained, we are always looking and evaluating and who knows. I will say, I love that Tundra although there are no plans to launch it here [yet], Mr Hanley said this week.
For more information on the 2022 Toyota Tundra, you’re best off reading our deep-dive story linked here.
To give some context, sales of the Ram 1500 in Australia sit at 2556 units this year, while the Chevrolet Silverado has found 1305 buyers.
Considering these V8s are locally switched to RHD by Walkinshaw, by which time most go for above $100,000, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
That said, these numbers are rounding errors when compared to their volumes in the US, which is why the factories don’t spend the money tooling their plants for right-hand drive.
The Tundra does lower volume though, so a RHD business case has the potential to be a more significant piece of the overall amortisation puzzle.
Mr Hanley went to pains to remind the media this week that the new Tundra came with a hybrid option – a likely hint that this might give it an extra leg-up. Toyota Australia is aggressively growing its hybrid footprint and sales.
Perhaps with the current supply headaches that are plaguing it, the company has bigger fish to fry for now…
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