The popular Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series looks set to remain off sale in Australia until at least the second half of 2023, the company’s local division has confirmed.
Speaking with media at the Australian launch of the new Corolla Cross, Toyota Australia’s vice president for sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said the brand is working through “over a year’s worth” of backorders.
“Not in the near future, we’ve paused that car,” Mr Hanley said, “I wouldn’t see that car coming off [pause] for the next 6-12 months at least, and maybe beyond that.”
“We’ve got to clear the current order bank, that’s our priority. Some customers have been waiting over 12 months now.”
“Priority one; try and give certainty and clear the current order bank, and then we’ll decide at a later time when we can open it up. But there’s no plans at this stage,” Mr Hanley continued.
“Expressions of interest to our dealers are welcome, but we can’t physically take orders. It just puts them on the list if it does come over.”
Toyota Australia announced it was closing order books for the rugged and retro 70 Series in July, citing ongoing production issues and record customer demand.
““Available supply is being impacted by ongoing production disruptions being experienced by the global automotive industry,” the company said in a bulletin.
“At the same time, the model’s popularity among Australian customers remains at historical highs.”
More recently in September, Mr Hanley indicated the pause could last another 12 months as production cuts and ever-lengthening wait times continued – some customers may be waiting until 2024 to get their ‘Cruiser at this stage.
“I think it will be at least 12 months before we’re able to even consider opening the books again on 70 [Series],” Mr Hanley told us. “This just fits in with that trust factor and being up front.”
“It’s capacity and volume…. I mean chips play a role, but it’s also capacity and demand,” decades-long Toyota veteran Hanley said, saying demand right now was “huge, it’s massive”.
“My belief is that all the different incentives that were around through COVID; massive booming agricultural returns right now, mining’s booming, everything that suits LandCruiser 70 is booming… And private. It’s had a bit of a surge in the private market too, just quietly. There are enthusiasts out there as well,” Mr Hanley added.
An updated 70 Series is also on the way, due before the end of the year. Headline changes include the range-wide inclusion of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
Toyota says it has made design refinements that have enabled it to increase the 70 Series’ gross vehicle mass to more than 3500kg, bumping up the vehicle’s payload figure and pushing it from the light to medium goods category.
The brand hasn’t confirmed the new payload figure, and says more details – including pricing – will be confirmed closer to the vehicle’s launch.
“The upcoming changes are designed to ensure that the legendary LandCruiser 70 Series will continue to be available for the foreseeable future in the Australian market, where its popularity resulted in more than 13,900 sales last year,” Mr Hanley said.
“The increase in GVM is sure to appeal to owners who use the 70 Series as a tool of trade or are seeking an even greater ability as a heavy duty recreational off roader.
“Combined with heavy-duty suspension and 3,500kg towing capacity, these upgrades will enhance the versatility and rugged reputation for this legendary vehicle.”
The stop-sale hasn’t stalled LandCruiser 70 Series sales, however. Just the cab chassis versions alone have seen 9083 deliveries to September 30 this year, up 3.2 per cent from the 8801 units registered during the same period last year.
LandCruiser Wagon sales are sitting at 8914 units for the same period, though this combines both the 70 Series and 300 Series figures.