Toyota leaves TRD out in the cold

TRD Aurion

It is just over 12 months since Toyota Australia was proudly boasting it was launching the first production cars in the world to wear the TRD nameplate. Yesterday the company announced the TRD performance brand will be dropped. Another scalp claimed by Carpocalypse Now (as named by Jalopnik). The decision will take effect at the end of March next year.

“Toyota made a significant financial commitment to TRD vehicle conversion and clearly understood short-term profitability was unlikely,” said David Buttner, senior executive director Toyota Australia.

“However, the perspective has changed for business globally and those new rules require tough decisions for the greater good. This is one of those decisions.”

This decision follows news that Toyota Australia will be increasing prices of its imported models from 1 January 2009 due to the falling Australian dollar.

The TRD operation produced a small product line, consisting of reworked Aurion and HiLux models. To the end of November just 888 TRD vehicles had been sold over its 16 month life cycle. Broken down, those sales amounted to 537 TRD Aurions and, since its April 2008 launch, 351 TRD HiLux models. While not directly comparable, HSV’s year to date sales to the end of November 2008 come to approximately 3500 vehicles. Although, recent sales have been encouraged by some heavy discounting.

TRD employed a small staff of just 17, and all will be kept on staff. Existing customers will continue to be covered by full factory warranty.

Full press statement after the jump.

TRD Aurion

TRD Aurion

19 December 2008

TRD – OPERATIONAL CHANGE

Toyota Australia has announced an operational change to its TRD performance brand.

TRD vehicle conversions will cease from March 31, 2009.

The decision has been made as a result of an on-going review of the vehicle conversion activity.

The review’s conclusion has been amplified by the world economic downturn and the need to achieve significant operational efficiencies.

“Toyota has a responsibility to ensure its core business activities, and the people who rely on them, are protected for the long term,” said David Buttner, senior executive director Toyota Australia.

Toyota has delivered 888 TRD vehicles (to November 30, 2008), 537 TRD Aurion and 351 TRD HiLux.

The Australian-designed and built TRD had been five years in planning.

The first vehicle, TRD Aurion, was launched 16 months ago, followed by TRD HiLux.

“Toyota made a significant financial commitment to TRD vehicle conversion and clearly understood short-term profitability was unlikely,” Mr Buttner said.

“However, the perspective has changed for business globally and those new rules require tough decisions for the greater good.

“This is one of those decisions.

“With the realities of the financial crisis and the downturn in consumer confidence, companies worldwide have an overriding responsibility to do their utmost to conserve cash – and Toyota is doing just that,” Mr Buttner said.

Mr Buttner said all TRD owners would be covered by Toyota’s new-vehicle warranty and the company would guarantee the continuing supply of parts to meet its legal obligations.

Every TRD component is a registered Toyota part.

All seventeen Toyota employees involved in the TRD operation will be redeployed within Toyota.

Mr Buttner said TRD had been a valuable project in developing and proving expertise within Toyota Australia.

“The decision to move TRD’s focus from vehicle conversion was made with the best interest of its customers and its network in mind.

“In the current circumstances the decision is correct and the outcome will be positive.”

Toyota Australia will lead the overall Australian automotive market for the sixth successive year in 2008.

Annual sales figures to be released in January are expected to reveal customer demand for Toyota and trust in its core product range are at record levels.

TRD Aurion

Toyota Style Australia chief Paul Beranger with his design team and the TRD Aurion and TRD HiLux.