Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series V8 future increasingly bleak in Australia

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Toyota is urging LandCruiser 70 Series V8 customers in the queue to switch to the new 2.8-litre four-cylinder because it is not sure it can fulfil every order for the V8 before it runs out of road.

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New emissions targets due in Australia next year are the latest danger to the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series V8 workhorse amid reports it will be axed globally by the end of next year.

Toyota Australia says it still has 12 months’ worth of LandCruiser 70 Series V8 deposits to clear after orders were paused more than 18 months ago, and it is not clear if the books will ever re-open.

Now the V8 is under threat from proposed Federal Government emissions rules for new vehicles, which will set CO2 emissions targets for passenger and light-commercial vehicles that car companies must meet to avoid paying fines.

Toyota is enticing buyers in the queue for a V8 to switch to the new, more frugal 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – which is freely available to order – as it is now not certain it can fulfil every order for the V8.

Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley told Drive “the reality is for the first few years there is going to be fines,” under the government’s preferred version of three proposed variants of the standard, due to come into force from 1 January 2025.

However Mr Hanley admitted that – even if the targets are delayed and made less stringent, as Toyota has called for – it may be forced to cut some high-pollution models from its line-up.

“Ultimately, we’re going to have to make adjustments and we will do that,” the executive said.

“But in the journey to that end outcome, people are still going to want to buy heavy SUVs. They’ll either buy them or they’ll keep what they’ve got. Because there is no other vehicle for them.”

The Toyota Australia executive did not name the 70 Series V8, but it is the company’s biggest polluter, emitting three times more CO2 (281g/km) than a Corolla hybrid hatchback, and 35 per cent more than a 2.8-litre diesel HiLux SR5 4×4.

The Japanese car giant says it supports emissions targets for Australian new cars, but has called for the government to delay the roll-out of its proposal, and loosen the restrictions, to allow time for more efficient versions of top-selling utes and 4WDs to be developed.

It follows reports out of South Africa the 4.5-litre ‘1VD’ single-turbo V8 – matched with a five-speed manual transmission – will be dropped from the 76 Series wagon in August 2024, followed by other body styles in August 2025.

Mr Hanley said the company is trying to lure 70 Series V8 customers – who have been waiting for at least 18 months, with up to 12 months to go – into the new 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and six-speed auto.

It is a sign Toyota knows the end is looming for the V8 – and it is not certain it can fulfil every order for the 4.5-litre engine.

“We’re working through to try to convert [buyers over],” said Mr Hanley.

“We’re still getting V8s at the moment, and we’ll see once we’ve worked out how many people are willing to go over to the four-cylinder … what our final number to fulfil is on V8s. Then we’ll start talking about whether we can get those cars.”

Asked if Toyota is any closer to re-opening orders for the V8 70 Series, Mr Hanley told Drive: “Our order bank is such that we cannot open it back up until we have certainty around our ability to provide those cars to the customer.

“Until we do that, we can’t open new orders up. And we’ll work with the existing order bank on the four-cylinder. We’re doing that now with our dealers … And then we’ll see what’s left in the V8 order bank and see if we can secure those vehicles for them.

“But we won’t be opening it back up. Anytime soon.”

Mr Hanley paused between saying “we won’t be opening it back up” and “anytime soon”.

If Toyota Australia has a year worth of V8 orders to clear – and the South African report is accurate – there may only be a small window of opportunity to re-open orders mid next year, and only for some body styles.

There is another new factor accelerating the death of the V8-powered 70 Series: the unexpected popularity of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and six-speed auto.

“The four-cylinder is well above where we thought it would be. The acceptance in fleets for the 2.8 and the auto has been exceptional. Many people who are driving it are now realising what a great car it is,” Mr Hanley told Drive.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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