Bigger bang theory
The new Toyota Prado four-wheel-drive is big in the family way, writes PAUL GOVER
AVALUE-FIRST three-door Toyota Prado will spearhead a showroom push by Australia’s best-selling car brand. The next-generation three and five-door is said to be close to our computer-generated image (right), but spyshots appearing on websites this week reveal a more angled rear window and aggressive front-end treatment with fewer grille bars and a more muscular bumper.
Toyota Australia has been quiet through the first half of the year and suffered a significant sales hit, but plans to strike back through December with a rush of new models and value-added deals on its Corolla and Camry.
Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing Dave Buttner says: ‘‘We have facelifts for the Camry and Aurion, we have special editions for RAV, Corolla and Yaris, we have technical changes on HiLux, HiAce and 70-Series and we have the new-generation Prado.
‘‘And we have VSC (electronic stability control) coming on the Corolla hatch, with the sedan to follow next year.’’
Looking at the potential for each of the newcomers, Buttner says the three-door Prado is the key with the family-focused four-wheeldrive given a complete renewal as part of the change to the 200-Series LandCruiser family.
‘‘It’s the first time we’ve had a three-door. It’s an exciting new entrant for us and gives us a new price point,’’ Buttner says.
‘‘We expect it to be a strong seller. It’s a different segment. It will be a price leader.
‘‘We think it will appeal to a slightly different buyer. We’re doing workshops to determine who it will appeal to. When you look at the next-generation Prado that’s a very exciting product for us. The specification down the track is absolutely sensational.’’
Buttner believes Australian sales have bottomed after the sharp downturn in the final months of last year and is hoping for a revival to the end of this year.
‘‘I think the industry for the second half will be stronger than the first half,’’ he says.
‘‘There are signs that private buyers are returning to the marketplace.
‘‘We’re not walking away from our 850,000 forecast for the year. May and June were very strong. The investment allowance has definitely helped.
‘‘The first six months for most manufacturers was slower than we have experienced for quite some time, but our order bank is back to where it was in March last year.
‘‘We believe with our marketing campaigns we’ll be able to drive showroom traffic.’’