It seems that Toyota has a lot of work to do to establish the TRD brand in Australia to the same status as HSV and FPV (of thats even possible). However given Toyota's somewhat unlimited marketing budget, they have began their crusade as of today.
Senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the upcoming supercharged TRD Aurion will compete directly against premium performance models from Europe and Japan.
Mr Buttner has been comparing the Aurion to cars which, in reality the TRD Aurion will only match in comfort and refinement. He has compared the TRD Aurion with the like of Alfa Romeo's 159, Volkswagen Golf R32 and the mighty Subaru Liberty GT spec.B.
"There is a range of vehicles priced from $50,000 to $60,000 that have reshaped the performance-enhanced market in recent years. This is where the sales growth has occurred over the past 10 years - and this is where we are positioning the TRD Aurion," he said.
Mr Buttner agrees the TRD philosophy is rather different from the "muscle car" ideology of HSV & FPV.
"TRD stands for an optimal blend of performance, refinement, handling and Toyota's traditional quality, durability and reliability. TRD is a bold innovation for Toyota. It adds individual character and enhanced performance to the outstanding integrity offered by all Toyota vehicles."
The problem with the statement above is relatively clear to any car enthusiast, Toyota have started the entire package on an inferior platform, much like the TMR 380, supercharging a Front-Wheel-Drive is never going to produce a true sports car.
There have been many heated arguments on CarAdvice regarding this issue, but we feel that at the end of the day, with the exception of very few Sports cars (e.g. the Honda Integra) a Front Wheel Drive setup is not beneficial for a car as big as the TRD Aurion (or the 380).
The TRD Aurion's supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine is expected to put out at least 235kW which is roughly 15 per cent higher than the standard engine's 204kW (running on 98 RON).
As was mentioned earlier, comparing this power output to the likes of the standard SS Commodore and the XR6T/XR8 shows the Aurion running a little short.
"The TRD Aurion will provide a balanced driving experience for a sophisticated market, integrating its power with dynamic cornering ability, precise steering response and impressive stopping performance, It will distinguish itself by delivering its ample reserves of all-around performance in a way that is enjoyable and relaxing to drive all day, every day," he said.
It is clear now that Toyota is not targeting the Aurion at the car enthusiasts, rather those who are a little to embarrassed to find themselves in a STi Liberty or HSV but still want to stand out a little from the crowd.
The Toyota TRD Aurion is expected in showrooms in August, with the second model TRD vehicle (the HiLux) set for release late this year. The TRD HiLux is Based on a 4WD Double Cab, it will feature a supercharged 4.0-litre V6 engine that Toyota claims will lift power greatly over the standard engine's 175kW.