TRD didn't just show off its new Corolla-based rally car at the Melbourne Motor Show. The Aussie wing of Toyota's factory motorsports arm also pulled the sheets off a new production car, the TRD Aurion, and a near-production-looking concept in the TRD HiLux pickup. The emergence of the special Aurion represents the world debut of TRD as a vehicle brand, opening the door for TRD versions of just about anything the automaker sets its mind to.
The TRD Aurion doesn't play around, either. This better-looking (much better looking in fact) Aussie version of the Camry gets a blown 3.5L V6 good for at least 320 horsepower. Some of you will notice that the TRD production car is essentially a dead ringer for the Aurion Sports Concept (gallery) that made its debut at the Sydney Motor Show back in October. We think the production car looks better, with less grey in the nose and much nicer-looking wheels. Sadly, Toyota thinks that the Camry has to look boring in our market. Come on guys, this look and the supercharged engine would go a long way towards making people think of the car as something other than an inoffensive, boring appliance.
Joining the TRD Aurion at the Toyota Stand is a TRD HiLux concept pickup. The four-door short-bed truck sports TRD graphics, a black roll bar, and a supercharged 4.0L V6. No power numbers were given. TRD only says that HiLux concept's engine is good for "substantially more" than the 234 horses the standard HiLux produces. If we had to guess, we'd say that our friends in Oz can look for the "concept" part of the HiLux's name to be dropped in the future.
TOYOTA DELIVERS WORLD AND AUSTRALIAN FIRSTS
Toyota Australia today (2 March) delivered a stunning series of world and Australian firsts at the Melbourne International Motor Show.
The Australian market leader set the pace at the show by displaying:
* the world's first TRD production-car brand
* the world's first production TRD Aurion
* the world's first TRD HiLux Concept, and
* the world's first new-model Corolla Super 2000 rally car.
The company's motor show stand also included three Australian firsts - the motor-show debuts of the new Euro-styled Corolla hatch, the sophisticated new Corolla sedan and the next-generation Kluger sports-utility vehicle.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the company's array of motor-show firsts confirmed 2007 would be one of the busiest years on record for Toyota new-model launches.
"Toyota will launch nine new models into seven vehicle segments this year - including the vehicles having their world or Australian debuts at the Melbourne show," Mr Buttner said.
"By the end of November, Toyota will have replaced or updated almost its entire model line-up in the space of just three years," he said.
"It is this constant flow of new and improved vehicles, manufactured both locally and overseas to meet and exceed customer demands, that is behind Toyota's success as market leader."
Mr Buttner said this is a world-first TRD vehicle brand and would add a new dimension to Toyota in Australia.
"TRD differs from its key competitors in the local enhanced-performance market because it will develop a range of vehicles, not just variations based on one car.
"TRD will increase the desirability of Toyota vehicles by drawing on the company's 50-year motorsport heritage to design and engineer a range of complete performance vehicles.
"This is the first time in the world TRD had been established as a separate brand under Toyota."
The TRD Aurion, slated for sale from the third quarter of this year, will feature a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine pumping out at least 235kW.
A production model based on the TRD HiLux Concept - a 4WD Double Cab - will hit the market later in the year.
Its supercharged 4.0-litre V6 engine will lift power substantially above the standard engine's 175kW.
Engineering development and design for these vehicles have been carried out entirely by Toyota Australia, with final assembly carried out by supplier Prodrive.
Toyota's other world-first debut in Melbourne is the striking new Corolla rally car that will compete in the Super 2000 championship this year.
Team leader Neal Bates and 2006 Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans said they would each be driving the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated car competitively for the first time at the Rally of Canberra in June.
"The dynamics are a lot better than our old car because it is so much lighter - and the sound of the engine revving up to 8,500rpm is amazing," Bates said.
The rally car is based on the new Euro-styled Corolla hatch that is making its Australian motor-show debut on the Toyota stand - along with the sleek and sophisticated new-model Corolla sedan.
Longer, wider and with more interior space, both Corollas will feature a more powerful 1.8-litre four-cylinder dual VVT-i petrol engine.
Corolla is Australia's most popular small car and last month was the top-selling vehicle in the country - a feat it achieved twice last year.
Toyota has also chosen Melbourne to stage the first outing in Australia for the next-generation Kluger.
Longer, wider and taller than the current model, it will - for the first time - be available in 2WD as well as all-wheel-drive versions.
Next-generation Kluger is expected to develop around 200kW from its dual VVT-i 3.5-litre V6 engine - making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V6 medium SUV in Australia.
Offering more interior space with the options of five or seven seats, it is due to go on sale in the third quarter of this year.