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TRD Aurion returns but hot HiLux delayed
Toyota resumes TRD Aurion sales after engine failure investigation, but delays HiLux
12 Oct 2007
THE TRD Aurion is back on sale after production was halted following an engine failure, but the planned TRD HiLux has been delayed until mid next year.
Toyota Australia had stated the supercharged HiLux would be on sale late this year when it revealed a concept version at the Melbourne motor show in March.
Toyota Australia sales and marketing chief David Buttner said there had been no problems with the hot HiLux, but said development was simply taking longer than expected.
“We have never had definitive dates, but we were planning to go this year,” Mr Buttner said.
“There are no issues in relation to the Hilux. We are going forward positively.”He said Toyota Australia had wanted to release the second TRD car this year, but could not achieve that because of an emission compliance test that had to be carried out in Japan.
“There is no drama about it complying, you (just) have to do it,” he said.
Toyota Australia ceased TRD Aurion production when a single vehicle suffered an engine failure when being driven by a car salesman last month.
Mr Buttner said that despite subjecting the failed engine to a vast array of tests, Toyota engineers still don’t know what went wrong.
“We found no problem,” he said.
Toyota ruled out the possibility that foreign matter could have entered the 3.5-litre supercharged engine during the assembly process.
The company is not saying over-revving of the engine caused the failure, but has reduced the TRD Aurion’s fuel cut-off from 6800rpm to 6500rpm, just in case.
This change will not change the Aurion’s performance figures of 241kW and 400Nm.
The handful of cars that had been released prior to sales being halted will have their engine control modules re-flashed with the new rev-limit as part of a service campaign.
Mr Buttner said he didn’t know what affect the engine failure issue will have on the image of the TRD brand.
“It is hard to judge, all I know is that the dealer network is very, very excited about the product, the enquiry level of people coming into the showrooms has been very, very high,” he said.
“Our demographic targets of those people making those enquiries, yes it is a different demographic, it is drawing people into the showrooms who then might look at a RAV or something else. It is achieving its aims, it brings emotion to the brand.”Mr Buttner said he stands by his decision to stop TRD Aurion production due to the failure of a single engine.
“We could have kept shipping vehicles, which is what most people would have done, but given that we had just launched the brand, I made a decision to stop the shipment, do a thorough investigation and make the right decision in regards to a counter measure,” he said.
“It was unfortunate, but we wanted to do the right thing to ensure the vehicle had 100 per cent integrity and that the customer could be sure that Toyota always backs its products 100 per cent.”Toyota announced at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney yesterday that Neal Bates would race a specially-prepared TRD Aurion at the Targa Tasmania rally next April.
Despite having to compete against cars with much more power, Bates is confident of a top 10 finish at the tough tarmac event.
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