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TRD Terminated: Toyota Seals Toyota Racing Development's Fate

Motoring Channel Staff - 19/December/2008

TRD Closed Down
TRD Terminated

TRD Closed Down
The supercharged TRD Aurion

TRD Closed Down
The TRD HiLux was a supercharged street machine

TRD Closed Down

Melbourne, Australia – Toyota sent out a press release today citing "an operational change to its TRD performance brand".

Most of the guys at the Motoring Channel took one look at the headline and went back to playing online games and checking Ebay for car parts, but this operational change is in fact the closing down of the entire TRD operation.

TRD is being completely shut down as of March 31, 2009. 

Finito. Kaput.

Like most of the gloomy automotive industry news we've been reporting on in the last few months, this local casualty is again a result a of the global economic downturn, but slow sales of the TRD models didn't help either.

Since it was launched 16 months ago, in mid 2007, TRD or Toyota Racing Development has sold just 888 vehicles.

But as Toyota Australia's senior executive director David Buttner stated, the brand wasn't initially set up to make the moola but was more of a branding exercise.

"Toyota made a significant financial commitment to TRD vehicle conversion and clearly understood short-term profitability was unlikely," said Buttner.

Toyota's top brass in Japan have had to trim the fat lately, as it's once lucrative North American sales have dived along with most other car makers, and TRD has been an under performing asset.

"With the realities of the financial crisis and the downturn in consumer confidence, companies worldwide have an overriding responsibility to do their utmost to conserve cash - and Toyota is doing just that," Mr Buttner said.

TRD currently sells two models, the TRD Aurion and the TRD HiLux, which has sold 537 and 351 units respectively.

The Toyota media release said that a review of all global operations had taken place and that the review's conclusion has been amplified by the world economic downturn and "the need to achieve significant operational efficiencies".

The Australian TRD business had been five years in planning, and will be sorely missed. 

High performance conversions of the Corolla, Kluger and Yaris were rumoured, but have little chance of being built after today's decision to shut down the operation.

David Buttner continued "...the perspective has changed for business globally and those new rules require tough decisions for the greater good. This is one of those decisions.

"Toyota has a responsibility to ensure its core business activities, and the people who rely on them, are protected for the long term," added Buttner. 

Toyota has confirmed that all TRD owners would be covered by Toyota's new-vehicle warranty and the company would guarantee the continuing supply of parts to meet its legal obligations.

No jobs will be lost with the closure of the TRD operation, as all seventeen TRD workers will be re-employed within Toyota.

Mr Buttner said TRD had been a valuable project in developing and proving expertise within Toyota Australia and concluded by highlighting Toyota's sales domination in the Australian new car market.

It's a sad day for performance car lovers, but if one good thing will come of this it is that TRD vehicles will now be ultra-rare and in a few decades could be highly sought-after collector cars.

Related Links:
- TRD Aurion (Road Test)
Toyota Prius (2010)
Toyota Hybrids + Custom Yaris (2008)
- Toyota Kluger (Road Test)
- Toyota Camry Aussie Hybrid (2010)
Toyota Corolla (Road Test)
Toyota iQ (2008)
Toyota LandCruiser (Road Test)
Toyota Venza (2008)
Toyota A-BAT Concept (2008)
Toyota Landcruiser (2008)
Toyota Corolla (2007)
Toyota Supra (2010)

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