Toyota Tundra: Big American pickup edges closer to Australian launch

Posted on July 8, 2024Comments Off on Toyota Tundra: Big American pickup edges closer to Australian launch

Toyota Australia has yet to confirm when you’ll be able to walk into one of its showrooms and buy its full-sized Tundra pickup, but a senior executive has given a promising update.

“I’m kind of hoping we might have some news by the end of the year,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations.

A total of 300 examples are being tested in Australia by prospective buyers as part of the Tundra Insider Program, which Toyota calls a “real-world evaluation and validation program”.

“So the trial’s going really well,” said Mr Hanley.

“We’re working through the details of the trial and we’ve had a few little things we’ve had to fix but nothing major. Nothing that I’d consider a deal-stopper, so that’s good.

“Quality’s been good, a couple little things that we fixed, but that’s the whole basis of the trial.

“The trial’s worked out really well for us, because it was the first time we’ve ever tried anything like this to be honest.

“What it’s enabled us to have complete confidence that we can now go to the parent company and say this is the trial, this is the result. We feel supremely confident that we’ll get the approval to launch this vehicle.

“It’s been a really good exercise, been different. But, it might even set the benchmark for how we bring cars that are converted locally to market. It’s been a really good exercise for us.”

As with all Tundras, Australia-bound examples are built in Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas plant.

They’re shipped here in left-hand drive, before being converted to right-hand drive by Walkinshaw Automotive Group at a facility in Dandenong, Victoria.

The company has previously said its Tundra Insider Program would go for a minimum of 12 months and could be extended if necessary.

Toyota announced its plans to bring the Tundra here all the way back in August 2022, delivering the first examples to Australians late last year.

Mr Hanley also previously added Toyota Australia is “certainly not doing this not to launch the car”, but said any vehicle it sells needs to meet the quality criteria set by its parent company and faces further checkpoints than a factory right-hand drive model.

“We want this as close to OEM spec as we can possibly get when we launch this car. That’s the reason we’re trialling it in the real-world conditions,” he said last year.

“We’re completely confident in our manufacturing and quality processes, both from a product planning perspective, and from a Walkinshaw perspective.”

As part of the remanufacturing process there are a number of parts installed or modified, including components for the steering rack, instrument panel, firewall, headlights, cabling, harnesses, front seats, carpet and trim.

However, there are no significant changes to the vehicle’s TNGA-F body-on-frame underpinnings, nor is the suspension tune changed for our market.

The steering column and rack, pedals and shift lever are sourced from the right-hand drive LandCruiser 300 Series, which also features TNGA-F underpinnings.

The hybrid pairs a 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with a motor generator, new Power Control Unit, and a sealed 288V nickel-metal hydride battery charged by brake-energy recuperation.

Total system outputs are 326kW of power and 790Nm of torque.

MORE: Everything Toyota Tundra