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The popularity of Toyota's LC300 is no longer a question. The long-awaited replacement for the LandCruiser 200 Series has not only been accepted, but embraced by rusted-on LandCruiser fans across Australia and the world.
The question, though, has shifted from "will it be good?" to "will it ever get here?", after parts shortages and plant slow-downs crippled the Toyota production machine, cutting output by 40 per cent in September and forcing the brand to admit it's no chance of delivering vehicles when it thought it could.
And the LandCruiser 300 Series was the worst effected, with its Japanese production facility shuttered for an entire month.
And it seems the slow-down isn't a one-time deal. Toyota has just announced that the 40-per-cent decrease in production now applies to October (though the LC300 doesn't appear to be directly impacted this time) and has admitted that November is no sure thing either – though its yet to confirm specifics or timings for the rest of the year.
If that's not bad enough, the LC300 was already going to be a production headache, before the shutdowns arrived. News out of Japan pointed to the domestic popularity of the new LandCruiser outstripping production capacity by around 400 per cent, with dealers warning that waits of up to four years were on the cards for the most popular trim levels, the ZX Sahara and GR Sport.
Toyota Japan has reportedly already attracted more than 20,000 orders, and had factored in – before the temporary plant closures – deliveries of just 5000 units.
Again, that's before the rolling shutdowns killed off Australia's deliveries.
The question those who have plonked down deposits in Australia are surely asking, then, is when did Toyota know they wouldn't meet their delivery guidelines?
Honestly, we don't know. But we'll recap the key timings here, based on when CarsGuide published relevant articles.
Honestly, we really feel for Toyota here. Clearly it would love to be making more vehicles, and some things truly are out of its control. Full transparency, though, will be key to keeping its most loyal customers happy.
June 10, 2021: Toyota unveils the new LC300, while the brand's local arm confirms Q4 2021 deliveries for the new model in Australia.
June 28, 2021: Toyota officially opens its expressions of interest website in Australia, and reveals top-line LC300 specs.
July 23, 2021: Toyota in Japan reveals a re-sale pledge it's asking its customers to agree to in the face of soaring pre-order figures for the new model.
August 4, 2021: Toyota Australia reveals full pricing and specification detail for LC300, including trim levels, equipment and specification, saying "it will launch two dramatically contrasting flagship LandCruiser variants when the all-new 4WD range goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year."
August 19, 2021: Toyota in Japan confirm production stoppages, revealing that the LC300 plant will be shuttered for 20 days into September.
September 3, 2021: Toyota Australia confirms LC300 delays in a press release, saying that dealers are contacting customers, but that no new timeframe do deliveries can be given.
September 10, 2021: Toyota in a Japan reveals rolling stoppages will continue into October, with another 70,000 vehicles cut from September targets, and a whopping 330,000 units lost in October. The new stoppages don't appear to directly impact the LC300, but the brand warns "the outlook for November and beyond is uncertain".
The big question now, of course, is just when the LC300 might arrive in Australia in any real numbers. We know Toyota has cleared up a handful of demonstrator models to drum up more interest in the new LandCruiser, but beyond that? It's still a mystery.