The Toyota HiLux is almost certain to be a sure-fire hit in the Australian market, but a bigger ute – the Toyota Tundra – is something the brand is interested in.
In North America, the full-sized pick-up competes with the likes of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and RAM 1500. Although not available here officially, the Tundra is sold locally through conversion companies such as Performax International.
We’ve sampled the Tundra in the past and come away extremely impressed.
That is, apart from the fact there’s no diesel option. And that’s the main reason it doesn’t make sense for Australia, according to Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing, Tony Cramb.
“We’ve tried a couple of times,” Cramb said of the company’s attempts to start a conversation around the Tundra in Australia.
Cramb admitted that the fact the Tundra is only sold with a 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine is enough to rule it out for the vast majority of buyers in Australia.
“Petrol versus diesel – that, in the end, is the clincher for us from a volume perspective. If we could get a diesel version of that, perhaps the numbers may be able to make sense. But in petrol it’s too hard,” he said.
Cramb said there hasn’t been a serious study in to the potential for the car here, but he has told CarAdvice in the past that the brand could sell 100 Tundras a month were it to be made available.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever done a formal study as such, but we’ve spoken to them [Toyota North America] informally.
“I think, until something changes, we probably won’t be studying it.”
When asked if Australians can make a loud enough noise to force a change, Cramb said there’d have to be more buyers.
“Given the engineering resources, that voice is not loud enough. Those numbers will be wrong, but they won’t be far off. It’s thousands and thousands versus 10. It’s a little bit hard to put that case forward,” he said.
But Cramb said there is desire from people within the business to have a Tundra as part of the range.
“Sure, we have customers bringing vehicles in – even some of our dealers have brought the Tundra in, and they drive them,” he said.
“Some of our dealers would love us to bring the vehicle in.”
Would you like to see a Toyota Tundra sold – through official channels – in Australia?