Toyota to kill off 70 Series in 5 years

Submitted: Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 15:55
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From Carpoint

An Australian bush icon will cease to exist within five years when tightening safety and emissions requirements force the discontinuation of Toyota’s long-running 70 Series LandCruiser.

The long-awaited availability of ABS brakes from October and an all-new dual-cab version also due on sale by year’s end will be the final additions to the aged 70 Series range before the popular ute, wagon and Troop Carrier line-up is killed off.

Toyota Australia Product Planning Division Manager Greg Gardner recently confirmed to there will be no replacement for the 70 Series, which dates back to 1984 in Australia.

“There are no plans to replace the 70 Series,” he said. “Five years down the track it will probably peter out.”

Mr Gardner said the 70 Series range would continue to be sold while demand continued in its biggest markets, including the Middle East and Australia, where the 70 Series remains popular with fleet buyers including mining and agricultural companies.

More than 60 per cent of 70 Series sales go to fleet buyers, who in turn support a significant local aftermarket industry that fits rollover safety equipment to most mining company vehicles to meet OH&S requirements.

Sales of the LandCruiser ute were up almost 40 percent in the first half of this year, with no fewer than 4228 examples sold to June – representing 7.3 per cent of a 4x4 ute segment that is dominated by Toyota’s HiLux (24.1 per cent), followed by the Nissan Navara (21.3 per cent), Mitsubishi Triton (12 per cent), Ford Ranger (8.3 per cent) and Mazda BT-50 (7.5 per cent).

So far in 2012 the LandCruiser ute has outsold popular 4x4 utes including the Isuzu D-Max, Holden Colorado, Volkswagen Amarok, Great Wall V240, Land Rover Defender and Nissan Patrol, while a large proportion of the 5713 LandCruiser wagons to this year were also 70 Series models.

Mr Gardner describes the 70 Series as a “backbone” model that Toyota Australia cannot get enough of. “We sell as many as we can get,” he said.

However, all that will change in 2013 when Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, which is a major Toyota fleet customer, requires all vehicles purchased for its fleet - not just in Australia but globally - to come with a five-star (maximum) NCAP safety rating.

While the 70 Series will finally be available with ABS brakes from October, it will never be fitted with electronic stability control or side curtain airbags, without which it cannot achieve a five-star NCAP rating.

Toyota has confirmed it will upgrade its entire HiLux range to qualify for a five-star ANCAP safety rating next year, when stability control and a full complement of airbags will become standard across the range, rather than on selected premium models.

Toyota says it has advised BHP of the upcoming HiLux upgrade and is working closely with key fleet buyers to ensure the 70 Series continues to meet their requirements. Mr Gardner pointed out that ‘sunset’ clauses within the new BHP safety policy would allow continued sales of the 70 Series to BHP for an unspecified period.

A ‘grandfather’ clause within BHP’s strict new vehicle buying policy will allow its fleet purchasers to continue to buy HiLux models with a four-star safety rating until the upgraded five-star models become available, but it will not apply to the three-star 70 Series.

“The 70 Series is appropriately named because that’s when it was designed – in the 1970s,” said Mr Gardner. “It is what it is. It’s a light truck that deals in a specific market segment and meets the requirements of the buyers within that segment. The 70 Series is a heavy-duty off-road vehicle and people accept it for what it is.

“We’re working closely with the miners regarding the future of the 70 Series. We’re discussing a lot of those safety issues going forward and all HiLux models will be five-star next year. There’s still demand for the 70 Series. (But) It will gradually peter out.”

The same fate is likely to meet Nissan’s existing Patrol, which also dates back decades and also comes with a three-star ANCAP rating. The current Patrol will continue to be available in wagon and ute form beyond the launch of the new Patrol wagon early next year, although Nissan Australia says the model will continue on sale “indefinitely”.

Toyota introduced an upgraded 70 Series in March 2007 with a new 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine, while an updated interior comprising twin front airbags was fitted to all 70 Series models in September 2009. Similarly, Toyota introduced a facelifted HiLux in September last year, when ABS became standard across the range, and stability control and curtain airbags were made standard, but only in four top-shelf variants.

This is despite the introduction of all-new five-star Ranger, BT-50 and Amarok ute models this year, and last month’s launch of the redesigned Colorado ute, which was also awarded a five-star ANCAP crash rating this week.

The HiLux has been Australia’s top-selling ute for 15 years, and is regularly the top-selling vehicle – bar none – in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Other utes to come into BHP’s firing line will be the Navara and Triton – Australia’s second- and third-best selling utes – which currently both come with a four-star ANCAP rating.

Mr Gardner suggested the all-new 70 Series dual-cab - which will join single-cab/chassis (pictured), five-door wagon and Troop Carrier derivatives on sale soon – would not have been developed if Toyota knew how limited its life span would be.

“The (70 Series) dual-cab was designed before BHP announced its five-star safety requirement (in May),” he said. “We’ll do ABS from August production, but there will be no VSC for any 70 Series.”

One third of compensable work related fatalities involve a vehicle and ANCAP has encouraged other businesses to follow the lead of BHP’s safety policy, which steps ahead of the federal government’s light commercial vehicle policy. From July 1, all LCVs purchased by the Australian government are required to have a four-star safety rating.

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Reply By: mountainman - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 16:59

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 16:59
no landcruiser ute in 5 years.

this is the worst news ive ever heard.

nothing on the market compares in 5 years.

this will be a sad day.
AnswerID: 490842

Reply By: Barry 2 - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 17:16

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 17:16
Looks like I better take extra special care of my 70 series tray.
I was hoping it would see me out anyway but now I'll have to make sure.

Mine is a 2006 last of the old shape, Gee it might be a collectors item worth
heaps $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ LOL

Barry - Southern Cross dreaming.
AnswerID: 490845

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 19:50

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 19:50
This means the current 70 series will actually go up in price Not a bad investment
AnswerID: 490857

Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:42

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:42
Why don't the mining companies teach their people to drive safely rather than relying on safety equipment to keep their Workers Comp bills down??

AnswerID: 490871

Follow Up By: Member - Justin O (QLD) - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 21:47

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 21:47
Exactly eighty matey. I wonder how many injuries from accidents would have been prevented, had the cruisers been fitted with the safety gear. Last time I was going through Naccowlah Oil field we were passed by a mining L'Cruiser ute going the other way at an absurd rate of knots. We saw him coming and got right off the road, so did he and showered us with stones- one broken headlight and three bulls eyes in the screen. Going too fast to get the rego.
FollowupID: 766261

Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 21:41

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 21:41
A better question is WHY! don't mining companies and HIRE companies like BRITZ TO NAME ONE govern the vehicles. It is not hard to do.

These workhorses were never made to travel at the speed they are capable of.

But it isn't going to change and the result is vehicles that are lower to the ground but are useless when it comes to what they are made for.

It is like the rollover argument with their my one is better than that one. When it all comes down to the fact that people quote these figures then promptly go out and lift their vehicle.

FollowupID: 766461

Reply By: equinox - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 22:15

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 22:15
RIP Off-road driving in Australia.
It was fun, thank you.

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"

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AnswerID: 490879

Reply By: Gado - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:04

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:04
Listen up Mr Ford & Mr Holden, is this the opportunity you have been waiting for? Australia needs a car designed for Australian conditions! ..isn't that what you say you do?
How nice that the imported opposition is opening the gate for you, at a time when you have plenty of production capacity going to waste...
AnswerID: 490919

Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:09

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:09
Trouble is Mr Ford and Mr Holden are at the mercy of their corporate masters in Detroit who also control the purse strings and won't release funds for development of an Australia-only vehicle, they want us all to have global vehicles and that's that. Look at the predicament the Falcon is in - it's an Australia-only vehicle and Ford can't get any money off Detroit for a newie because it doesnt "accord" with their "plans".

But yes, you're right, the gate is open, it would be lovely if the Ranger could be made here, and tailored to our market.
FollowupID: 766295

Reply By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:14

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:14
Its probably worth understanding that the fundamental reason is rollover stability which remains under appreciated in 4wd circles, and while this car has had many desirable features saftey really is a sound basis for this descision and at the end of the day their will simply less injured and dead occupants .

Sad but hard to really argue with this outcome.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 491031

Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:26

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:26

Can you please explain how side curtain airbags work when it is also a mine requirement to have internal ROPS fitted?

Therefore compliance with the 5 star NCAP rating is unachievable IMHO

The main reason for the retirement of such a great vehicle will be due to the Euro 6 emission requirement IMO.

Cheers Kev

Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.

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FollowupID: 766436

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:35

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:35
Its toyota not me that have made the descion not to continue Kev and they do this in consideration of the whole scene.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 21:54

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 21:54
you will see a reply earlier in this post and I will ask you how much your vehicle is lifted. I know the rollover angles of a standard vehicle, now can you tell me what yours is now that it is lifted and runs on the highway.

These are workhorses and I have seen all the other workhorses tried and they didn't cut it.

FollowupID: 766463

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 07:56

Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 07:56
Hi Rockape

Wether or not my car is lifted really hasn't anything to do with Toyotas descision however I often argue for improved rollover performance so I am happy to explain how I have improved mine.

My normal Patrol has a 2 inch lift ( if I get time I will post a story about latest one as as of Saturday I know own 3 4800 GUs).

To counteract the lift I have added over 100 kg of weight below the centre of gravity and in addition increased the track width by use of wheel spacers and offset wheel rims.

My car is significantly above the Patrols excellant standard 48 degree rollover angle.

I never understand why Toyota did not increase the rear wheel track of 70's cars to match the front and hope others driving these cars will fit the wheel spacers to offset the track difference - simple things like this could have reduced there bad press.

Perhaps enough customer feedback would make Toyota re-consider the investment required to make these cars comply - but if the reports are to be believed it won't happen.
Robin Miller

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FollowupID: 766474

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