Walkinshaw to build RHD Toyota Tundra

Walkinshaw Automotive Group will convert the Toyota Tundra for Australian sale

Toyota will join the US ute brigade in 2024, when the Tundra goes on sale in Australia to compete against the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500 and incoming Ford F-150.

In a suprising move Toyota has announced it will partner with Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the same company originally behind the right-hand drive conversions of the Ram and Chevrolet models. The company, which also includes the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars team as part of its wider portfolio, has plenty of experience with the project and that was seemingly the key to Toyota’s decision to turn to it for this long-awaited project.

Walkinshaw was also instrumental in the Volkswagen Amarok W580 project and is rumoured to be on the verge of a similar deal to modify the Mitsubishi Triton.

READ MORE: New-generation Toyota Tundra revealed

Toyota and Walkinshaw will begin testing approximately 300 Tundra prototypes over the course of the next 12 months to ensure the conversion is to the standards customers have come to expect from the Japanese brand.

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia Vice President Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations, said quality of the conversion is the priority for the company.

“This a dedicated re-engineering program, led by Toyota Australia and made possible by our global partners and is closely supported by our parent company and Toyota North America,” Hanley said. “It will utilise OE [original equipment] levels of design, development, testing and componentry rooted in Toyota’s deep commitment to quality, durability and reliability.

Switching sides: Toyota will begin testing right-hand drive Tundra prototypes in September

“This project shows just how serious we are at Toyota about quality, and a RHD Tundra will not be available for sale in Australia, until we are totally satisfied.

“We are really excited to get such a significant project to this stage, and look forward to seeing development prototypes on our roads and test tracks in the weeks and months ahead.”

To that end it will utilise parts from the LandCruiser 300 Series, including the steering column and rack, accelerator, brake pedals and shift lever.

The initial Tundra’s offered in Australia will be powered by the brand’s latest 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with hybrid system. Further specifications and pricing are likely to be kept under wraps until closer to the car’s launch.

Ford is currently working on a similar project for its locally-converted RHD F-150 with its own partner. Ram and Chevrolet have been established here for longer, sold under the Ram Australia and General Motors Specialty Vehicles banners, respectively.

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