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Toyota Fortuner name already strong

Name game: Toyota’s own research suggests that there is already buyer recognition for the all-new Fortuner SUV in Australia.

Despite fishy connotations, research shows Toyota’s Fortuner already has currency

Toyota logo17 Jul 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TOYOTA believes Australians will have no problem wrapping their minds or tongues around ‘Fortuner’, with internal research revealing that the name already has a stronger-than-anticipated recall with consumers, despite not being confirmed for sale until now.

Speaking at the global unveiling of the second-generation Fortuner in Sydney that was held simultaneously in Thailand where it is manufactured, Toyota Australia product public relations manager Steve Coughlan said that public recognition meant there was no need to resort to this model’s direct ancestral nameplate, 4Runner.

“4Runner obviously has a strong place among our historical names, but Fortuner name itself actually has its own strong awareness,” he told GoAuto. “Because a lot of the media coverage, the speculative coverage, suggesting that it may be coming to Australia, has really helped.

“We did a bit of market research and found that public awareness is stronger than we anticipated. Plus, it is the name of the product, it is a global vehicle, and it is very different to the 4Runner that is concurrently available in the United States. So we don’t want people to get confused as well.

Mr Coughlan highlighted the success of the relatively unknown Kluger nameplate and how it has become a recognised and well-regarded moniker for the brand.

“At the launch of Kluger back in 2003, when we brought that vehicle to market, some people also asked us ‘What’s with the name?’… but we have found that you do need some cut-through, you do need something that is actually different, and I definitely think Fortuner does that.”

The Japanese-built, US-market 4Runner grew out of the larger platform underpinning the first Prado sold in Australia from 1996 to 2003, and has continued through to the latest, fifth-generation model launched in 2009.

In contrast, the Fortuner has direct lineage to the 4Runner that was released here in the mid-1980s, and has remained heavily derived from each corresponding HiLux through name changes such as Trekker, Surf, Sport Rider, and – since 2005 – Fortuner.

Aimed directly at the Isuzu MU-X, Holden Colorado 7, and Mitsubishi Challenger, the Fortuner off-roader will be released in Australia in late October, with pricing and other specification details to be divulged closer to the launch.

Toyota has indicated that it will be priced substantially below the Prado (that starts from $51,990), and will be pitched as the diesel-powered, adventure-focused alternative to the popular petrol-only Kluger, despite having a ladder-frame rather than monocoque body construction.

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