The Toyota Tundra is coming, but it won’t be an easy path to get the full-sized pick-up into local showrooms towards the end of next year, according to the Japanese brand.
Speaking to media at the launch of the GR86, Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the Tundra program won’t be taking any shortcuts when it comes to producing a high-quality product.
“We’re not simply moving the steering wheel to the other side of the car,” he said.
“We’re substantially re-engineering Tundra for Australia, adopting local parts such as the steering column and rack, accelerator, brakes and shift lever from the LandCruiser platform.
“This is a full-scale re-engineering project that requires everything you’d expect from Toyota to meet our strict requirements for QDR – that being quality, durability and reliability.”
Toyota isn’t going at it alone however, and has tapped Walkinshaw Automotive Group – who have experience with right-hand-drive converting the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado – to aid in getting its Tundra up to standard.
And while Toyota has not officially confirmed the Tundra will be made available to customers to purchase in the future, Mr Hanley stressed the importance of getting this model right in Australia.
“This is the first time, in fact anywhere in the world, that Toyota has undertaken a project quite like this,” he said.
“Building a car produced in one market, exporting it to a country that is in fact not Japan, having local engineers thoroughly redevelop it for the needs of customers in that third market, and having a Toyota badge on the front – this no ordinary conversion.
“Naturally that means Tundra for Australia places further checkpoints into our global approval process before its local introduction can be completed.
“This includes the extensive local testing – or local test program – with 300 vehicles starting in the second half of next year.
“These cars will be production quality, customer ready vehicles – they will not be prototypes.
“And this real-world trial will enable us to gather as much information as possible on the vehicles, further validation that goes beyond the already extensive engineering process is being implemented for this vehicle.”
And each vehicle will be powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 with hybrid assistance, which in US-spec Tundras, pushes out 286kW/650Nm.
This makes it Toyota Australia’s most powerful model, but only just as it beats out the 285kW Supra by one a single kilowatt.
The LandCruiser 300 Series also offers more torque, at 700Nm, from its 3.3-litre turbo-diesel V6, but the Tundra easily outclasses the smaller HiLux that features up to a 150kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.
Key details like towing and fuel economy are yet to be made available for the Australia Tundra however, but Mr Hanley said more information will surface soon.
“This is the first time we’ve tried anything like this in the world and we are extremely confident,” he said.
“There are no shortcuts, so we will share more news as it becomes available about this exciting project.”
Keyword: 2023 Toyota Tundra is 'no ordinary conversion' as Japanese brand looks to go above and beyond what Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado offer