The 2022 Toyota Tundra pick-up has been previewed with a shadowy teaser image (above) out of the US ahead of an official unveiling later this month.
While details remain scarce and are yet to be confirmed by Toyota, the next-generation Tundra is understood to share its DNA and much of its architecture with the upcoming 2022 Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.
The Toyota Tundra has been off-limits for Toyota Australia because it has only ever been available in left-hand-drive, as it was primarily designed for the US, where it is manufactured.
Above: A small number of current generation Toyota Tundras have been converted locally by independent importers without the backing of Toyota Australia. Could the new model eventually be sold in local Toyota showrooms as a factory-built right-hand-drive vehicle?
However, given that the new Toyota Tundra is said to share many of its key components with the new Toyota LandCruiser, Australia's luck could be about to change.
Because the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series will be available in left- and right-hand-drive, it means there will likely be fewer barriers to manufacturing a right-hand-drive Toyota Tundra.
Toyota Australia executives have remained tight-lipped about the possibility of adding the Tundra to local showrooms.
However, Toyota Australia's sales and marketing boss, Sean Hanley, has repeatedly told media Toyota Australia has never given up hope of a business case being made for a factory-built right-hand-drive Tundra.
Above: There has been a lot of interest in the Toyota Tundra being sold alongside the Toyota HiLux in Australian showrooms. But would demand still be as strong if the next Tundra switched from V8 to V6 power?
Toyota has acknowledged the growth in the full-size US pick-up segment in Australia, with Ram and Chevrolet delivering record numbers of factory-backed – but locally-converted – utes over the past five years.
CarAdvice understands that if Toyota were to join the full-size pick-up segment locally, its preference would be to do so with a factory-built right-hand-drive vehicle, rather than a local conversion.
All that said, the next generation Toyota Tundra is still a long way from turning up in Toyota Australia showrooms.
Firstly, it is yet to be approved and apparently is still relegated to Toyota Australia's wish list.
Secondly, even if it had been secretly approved, it could still be some time away.
Above: The US also had a TRD version of the current generation Toyota Tundra. Go on, Toyota Australia, just make the next one happen. Please?
If the US-made Toyota Kluger family SUV is a guide, Toyota would prioritise the left-hand-drive US market first and add the right-hand-drive variant only after production of left-hand-drive vehicles had ramped up and reached a rhythm.
Furthermore, while some of the early development of left- and right-hand-drive variants could be done concurrently, Toyota would need to spread out its engineering resources as the vehicle got closer to production, and have the final work on a right-hand-drive model completed after left-hand-drive examples had started to roll off the assembly line.
All of this, however, is our speculation based on four elements:
- A new heavy duty frame is expected to share components across the new Tundra and new LandCruiser;
- The new frame has been developed from the beginning to be versatile enough to be manufactured in left- and right-hand;
- Toyota Australia's continued interest and repeated calls for the Tundra to be added to the local line-up;
- The phenomenal growth and profit margins for Ram and Chevrolet full-size pick-ups in Australia over the past five years.
The teaser image of the new Toyota Tundra coincidentally came after US President Joe Biden briefly drove the Ford F-150 Lightning – Ford's new electric pick-up – in a publicity stunt ahead of that vehicle going on sale in the US.
Toyota is yet to outline what engine will power the new Tundra, though there is speculation the V8 petrol engine has been dropped to make way for a more powerful – yet more efficient – twin turbo V6 petrol and/or a V6 petrol hybrid.
Spy photos out of the US appear to show the rear end of the new Toyota Tundra will have coil springs rather than leaf springs, though this is yet to be confirmed.
Above: An artist impression of how the new Toyota Tundra might look.