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Toyota boss on Fortuner's future: Could the Isuzu MU-X, Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport rival be in danger of being discontinued?

The Toyota Fortuner is an under-performer in Toyota's overachieving family of successful models.

A Toyota Australia senior executive has revealed there are no plans to axe Fortuner yet, despite the seven-seater off-roader’s dismal performance in dealerships.

Speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of the new-generation Kluger, vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the Fortuner hasn’t failed and that there is still a place for it in the company’s Aussie line-up.

“Fortuner certainly hasn’t been a failure, not in our eyes anyhow, “ he said. “And I’m not aware of any plans to discontinue Fortuner.

“It definitely has a market and it’s definitely filling a need especially in that diesel segment, so no we’re not disappointed at all in Fortuner. It’s doing exactly what we want it to do in the context of our total Toyota line-up.”

The Fortuner has struggled to win over buyers since its Australian launch in 2016. There have been just 1273 sales since the start of 2021, making it Toyota’s most under-performing SUV.

Despite being based on the best-selling vehicle in Australia - the Toyota HiLux - the Fortuner has constantly been out-sold by its competition in the form of the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Isuzu MU-X. Like the Fortuner, they are all based on utes, with the Everest coming from the Ranger, the Pajero Sport being related to the Triton and the MU-X being the SUV-version of the D-Max.

Putting Fortuner’s woes in perspective is the MU-X, which has had triple the sales this year with 4203 being sold in 2021.

With its ladder frame chassis chassis, 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 150kW and 500Nm, four-wheel drive system plus a braked towing capacity of 3100kg the Fortuner should be hit.

Most of Toyota’s models are overachievers in their respective segments, but while it seems Fortuner is destined for the chop, Mr Hanley assured us that there is still a place in its line-up for the Fortuner as long as there is customer demand.

“So when we look at specific cars we look at the market and we look at market demand, but we also look at what it’s role is within our line-up and where’s the gap in the market that we need to fill,” he said.

“We’ve got customers saying ‘we want a Toyota that can do this and this with this variant.’ So we don’t see it as a failure at all.”