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Toyota's $162m V8 LandCruiser problem: Why the end of the V8 diesel LandCruiser 70 Series could end up costing a fortune

Toyota has a looming problem surrounding its LandCruiser V8 diesel engine.

The end of the LandCruiser 70 Series' diesel V8 engine could cost Toyota Australia a fortune, with the brand holding in excess of 2000 (in fact, far more than that) orders for its off-road icon – with customers it now needs to convert to a four-cylinder engine or risk losing entirely.

Toyota won't be drawn on exactly how many people are in its 70 Series queue, but it's safe to say it is in excess of 2000 people, and potentially much more. But even at the lower estimate, and based on the cheapest sticker price for the 70 Series, that's at least $162m in orders for the brand's rugged 4WD – and the vast majority of people are waiting for a V8.

When asked whether there were at least 2000 people on the LandCruiser waiting list, Toyota Australia VP of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, replies: "You're significantly off the mark. Low. Low."

But even using 2000 as a base, it means Toyota is holding millions of dollars in orders for its 4WD, most of which are expecting a V8 engine that will likely now never arrive.

"First of all, we're working through now to try to convert, or offer, customers in existing V8s the opportunity to go to four (cylinders). We're seeing a very good take-up," Hanley says.

"We can't get all the V8s quickly. That's the first point. So this is a credible option. We can get the four cylinders. And second of all, I guess if you want to say anything with the (New Vehicle Efficiency Standard), I guess now puts those cars into question big time, right?"

The end of the LandCruiser 70 Series' diesel V8 engine could cost Toyota Australia a fortune.

Asked directly whether people currently in queue for a V8 engine might never get one, Hanley replied:

"We don't know the answer to that question because we're working through now on what our production capabilities are on both (engines), and how many convert from eight to four and then we'll get out and we'll do that.

"We'll go to Japan and say we've got X amount for eight, can we supply these orders? We'll either open orders back up or we'll just be a four-cylinder LandCruiser."

It's understood that, to date, around 30 per cent of existing order holders have opted to switch to the four-cylinder option. But those who don't are increasingly looking like missing out altogether, with the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel likely to be the only engine option available from here out.

"At this stage (the V8 is) closed, and I can't for the foreseeable future see that opening," Mr Hanley says.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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