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Revealed! When will the 2024 Toyota Tundra actually go on sale and who will be included in the pilot program for the Ford F-150 rival?

Toyota will hand over 300 examples of the big Tundra between December and April for the pilot program.

Just weeks out from the launch of its biggest rival, the Ford F-150, Toyota Australia has detailed some of the plans for its Toyota Tundra pilot program.

The massive American pick-up truck is still not technically confirmed for Australia, however the investment that Toyota Australia is making in ensuring the model is right for our conditions suggests that a green light is a mere formality.

Brand T has already confirmed that it will run a pilot program that will include 300 people across Australia who will be responsible for providing feedback to Toyota on the vehicle.

Speaking to journalists at a showcase of new Toyota models in Melbourne, Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley explained the next phase of development of the hulking truck.

“The next stage of our right-hand-drive re-engineering project is ready to go. Local production is underway with our partner, Walkinshaw Automotive Group, and the 300 vehicles will be delivered progressively between December of this year and April 2024,” he said.

Hanley said the company is working to get the Tundra officially approved for sale, but the pilot will help Toyota identify any potential issues.

“So we're looking to bring it to production, obviously, but until we get the tick of approval on quality, durability, reliability, all the normal things that Toyota does we can't confirm it. And we don't have that right now. And this is a first of its kind and that's exactly why we're doing this real-world testing there. We think it will stack up. We're pretty confident.

“But you know, there's going to be some changes, we'll get some feedback. I've got no doubt we'll make some moves, changes whatever. And then we'll present that business case to our parent company and seek to get a launch date. But we don't have that now. That's the truth.”

When asked, Hanley didn’t deny that by the time the pilot wash up was concluded, the Tundra could launch here in 2025.

He also explained how the pilot participants would be chosen.

“To help us choose the most appropriate drivers, our dealers will contact potential customers, then provide us with a shortlist of final selection based on location, occupation and planned usage.

“These customers will benefit from an attractive full-service lease also through Toyota Finance Australia that recognises our requirements for customers to provide feedback through the regular dealer check ins.”

Hanley later added that given the extensive work people involved in the Tundra pilot will need to undertake, the lease agreement had to be solid and appealing.

In terms of what happens to the pilot vehicles once the pilot period is over, Hanely said: “We'll bring the cars back to us [Toyota Australia]. We'll probably recondition the cars after their use and make any other adjustments that we may need to make. If it goes to launch, then we'd resell them as a used car.”

He said the company would give the pilot participants the first option to buy the Tundra they assessed as a used car, “but we do some fairly significant reconditioning, repurpose if we need it, any upgrades that we've determined as needed”.

Toyota is yet to announce any local details, but it will be powered by the ‘i-Force Max’ hybrid, which combines the V6 engine with an electric motor. It’s a parallel hybrid system with an electric motor generator located between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, making for a total system output of 325kW/790Nm.

The Tundra rivalling Ford F-150 is just weeks away from launching in Australia, while the GMSV Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 are already on sale.

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim...
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