For Toyota 2007 is a big big year. Firstly, they have created a new brand of cars, Toyota Racing & Development, better known as TRD. Secondly, Toyota is set to release nine new cars this year alone!
"Toyota will launch nine new models into seven vehicle segments this year - including the vehicles having their world or Australian debuts at the Melbourne show, by the end of November, Toyota will have replaced or updated almost its entire model line-up in the space of just three years," he said."It is this constant flow of new and improved vehicles, manufactured both locally and overseas to meet and exceed customer demands, that is behind Toyota's success as market leader." Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner
Of course, apart from the new Kluger and Corolla, everyone is talking about the new TRD Aurion. The car which is set to take on HSV and FPV. Will it work? It's still far to early to say, but as far as looks go, the TRD Aurion passes with flying colours.
"TRD differs from its key competitors in the local enhanced-performance market because it will develop a range of vehicles, not just variations based on one car. TRD will increase the desirability of Toyota vehicles by drawing on the company's 50-year motorsport heritage to design and engineer a range of complete performance vehicles. This is the first time in the world TRD had been established as a separate brand under Toyota." Mr Buttner said.
I would like to point out however that in regards to "range of vehicles" this is incorrect as HSV also delivers the HSV enhanced Astra, and rumour has it that FPV are planing a Territory version.
Nonetheless, the TRD Aurion, set for sale from the third quarter of this year, will feature a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine pumping out a minimum of 235kW, an increase of 35kWs over the standard Aurion.
Meanwhile, Toyota has also decided to b ring out a TRD HiLux- a 4WD Double Cab - which will hit the market later in the year. Its supercharged 4.0-litre V6 engine will lift power substantially above the standard engine's 175kW.
The reason I am so keen on the TRD Aurion isn't because Toyota decided to put a supercharger in an Aurion, but because tuning company Prodrive are involved. For those of you not familiar with Prodrive, you'd be happy to know that Prodrive are one of the most respected tuners in the industry with much involvement with Subaru vehicles. Toyota says that the engineering development and design for these vehicles have been carried out entirely by them whilst the final assembly is carried out by Prodrive.
September will be an interesting month for Toyota, TRD brand can once and for all make Toyota a respectable performance brand in Australia or forever banish them into the realm of "fridge on wheels", its a huge gamble that may leave Toyota as the laughing stock of the industry. However given Toyota's relatively unlimited budget of marketing and research, one should assume the best!