Toyota is embarking on its first ever factory-backed local remanufacturing program.

    This will initially see 300 examples of the Texas-built Tundra pickup converted to right-hand drive by Walkinshaw Automotive Group at a facility in Dandenong, Victoria for a “real-world evaluation and validation program”.

    At this stage the locally remanufactured right-hand drive Toyota Tundra still isn’t available for retail purchase, with Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley saying the trial will go for a minimum of 12 months and could extend if necessary.

    Mr Hanley also added Toyota Australia is “certainly not doing this not to launch the car”.

    “We still have a quality criteria that we must reach with our parent company … [and] until we meet that this is not a confirmed position.

    “We want this as close to OEM spec as we can possibly get when we launch this car. That’s the reason we’re trialling it in the real-world conditions.

    “We’re completely confident in our manufacturing and quality processes, both from a product planning perspective, and from a Walkinshaw perspective.”

    As part of the remanufacturing process there are a number of parts installed or modified, including components for the steering rack, instrument panel, firewall, headlights, cabling, harnesses, front seats, carpet and trim.

    Despite this, a number of components remain unchanged.

    Toyota Australia senior manager of vehicle evaluation and regulations Ray Munday confirmed there are no “significant structural changes” to the Tundra’s TNGA-F body-on-frame platform.

    “From a chassis rail point of view, [and] engine and transmission point of view, there’s no change,” said Mr Munday.

    He also confirmed there hasn’t been any change to the Tundra’s suspension tune for the Australian market.

    “[During development] we were looking at whether we need to do that because sometimes the American tunes can be a little softer under control for the roads in Australia,” said Mr Munday.

    “But actually the tuning direction that they took with this was quite a control and agile priority. When we evaluated it on our roads, there was no need to change that.”

    A main highlight of the Tundra remanufacturing process is having a number of components be used from the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series and Lexus LX, which are both also built on the TNGA-F platform.

    These parts include the steering rack and exhaust shields from the Lexus LX, as well as the pedals, HVAC components, from the LandCruiser 300 Series.

    In addition, the right-hand drive Tundra’s headlights, tail lights, and indicators have been modified to be ADR-compliant, and are manufactured in the same plant in North America as the left-hand drive parts.

    Other right-hand drive Tundra components made by the same supplier of the left-hand drive components include the wiring harnesses and seatbelts.

    There’s a modified firewall, repositioned brake booster, window wipers, and side mirrors. There’s also an ADR-compliant tow hitch, 12-pin connector, and Australian licence plate mounts.

    Inside there’s a new dashboard Walkinshaw has created especially for the right-hand drive Tundra that emulates the left-hand drive example and retains all the key components.

    The first deliveries of the locally remanufactured right-hand drive Tundra pickup have commenced for customers that are part of the so-called Tundra Insider Program.

    The company expects all 300 Tundra examples will be completed by April 2024.

    The only Tundra variant offered locally with this pilot program is the Limited, which is technically a mid-specification model in the US range.

    All are powered by the i-Force Max powertrain which pairs a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with an electric motor generator producing total system outputs of 326kW of power and 790Nm of torque.

    The Toyota Tundra goes up against the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500Ford F-150, as well as the Ram 1500 in Australia.

    MORE: Everything Toyota Tundra

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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