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Toyota Tundra is a no-go for Oz

Monster truck: The Toyota Tundra is almost six metres long and sells in the United States from US$28,000, competing against the likes of the Dodge Ram and Ford F-250.

Big American-focused Tundra ute is officially off Toyota Australia's radar

Toyota logo22 May 2015

By TIM ROBSON

FANS of massive American-focused pick-up trucks will be disappointed to hear that Toyota’s big Tundra is unlikely to ever make it Down Under under an offocial import program.

Available in the United States in a huge range of configurations, the Tundra is built for the American market in Toyota’s San Antonio plant in Texas and is sold in a handful of other left-hand-drive markets including Canada and New Caledonia.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb told journalists at a HiLux preview event that research into bringing the Tundra to Australia goes back as far as 2003.

“We have an enormous demand for Tundra here, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “If we could get a diesel Tundra, I think we could sell 100 a month. But regrettably because it’s manufactured in the States, it’s not likely to happen that way.”

A diesel version was announced at the 2008 Detroit motor show, but the project never made it to production.

Mr Cramb said that while there is a level of demand coming from customers, many Toyota dealers actually drive Tundras themselves.

“A number of our dealers have imported Tundras for themselves. They love it,” he said. “We’ve had strong requests at dealer meetings to get the Tundra here, and we have made representation (to Toyota Motor Corporation). But when it comes down to it, because it’s not left hand drive here and it’s petrol, in the end it’s very hard to make the case.”

The Tundra has not been configured for right-hand drive in either of its two iterations.

“We’ve definitely tried (lobbying for right-hand-drive production) in the past,” he noted. “If it was diesel, we may have had more luck, but it’s just not something that works for them. We’ve wanted it for a long time. When I was (working) there in 2003, there were discussions then.

“I don’t know if there were formal discussions between us and TMC at the time, but I know I used to get people talking about it. There’s not much prospect of it coming here.”

The Tundra can be purchased in Australia via specialist importers including Performax International in Queensland, who can also perform right-hand-drive conversions. Current Tundra stock is listed on its website at over $123,000 before on-road costs.

The similarly sized Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-built Ram ute is due in Australia via New Zealand this year, in a deal struck between FCA New Zealand and the parent company.

Standing more than 5800mm long, 2000mm wide and 1900mm high, the Tundra is powered by either 5.7-litre or 4.6-litre V8 petrol engines, both backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. It has a tow capacity of between 4100 and 4700kg, depending on its body style. Its gross vehicle mass is over three tonnes.

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