“We got it wrong.” That’s Toyota’s admission now about Fortuner pricing. It wants to effect a decrease – but needs home office permission.
TOYOTA Motor Corporation holds the keys to a local market pitch to reposition the Fortuner sports utility so that it establishes closer parity to emergent rivals.
Toyota New Zealand says a special pricing campaign that seems to slash up to $10,000 from recommended retails ranging from $70,090 to $78,990 presents an accurate pointer to where its Hilux-based seven-seater needs to be.
However, the final decision about this lays with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, TNZ general manager of sales Steve Prangnell says.
“We have gone to them (TMC) to seek permission to reprice the vehicle. It is now with them.”
Prangnell says it is apparent the launch stickers that effected in February are now too high for the market condition, in part because Toyota is now facing opposition from models that have come into the market since then.
“We got the price wrong. There’s no doubt we got it wrong.”
However, he reminds that when Fortuner landed, it was really only competing with the Ford Everest that is pricier still, starting at $75,990 in Trend form and rising to $87,990 in Titanium trim.
Since that time Mitsubishi has entered the fray with a substantially cheaper seven-seater Pajero Sport, at $61,990 through to $66,990, and Holden’s Trailblazer LTZ has repositioned at $62,995, a $4000 decrease on where it placed when sold as the Colorado 7.
TNZ does not directly reference that activity as providing a specific trigger for the change, however Prangnell does agree that the Fortuner’s current special pricing that repositions to starting price to around $63,000 gives good idea about where his operation prefers to be.
“I’d like to think that we could start in the early 60s, maybe $62 to $65, somewhere around there. It’s more realistic.”
However, he adds that the primary impetus for the current campaign is to “clear our aged inventory” ahead of an arrival of fresh stock. He also adds that the special offer is tied to a finance lease opportunity which provides the vehicle for a “super competitive” $110 to $130 per week.
Asked if TNZ had abandoned its RRPs, he responded by suggesting that no distributor was working to that schedule.
“I don’t think anyone sells at recommended retails at the moment.”
Ford’s continued preference to cite the Ranger-spun Everest as a rival for the Land Cruiser Prado continued to perplex, Prangnell said, because “we haven’t seen it take any Prado sales at all.
“Ford is in charge of its own segments but it’s (Prado) is rolling out the door … we’re looking at selling 900 this year.”
Meantime, TNZ reckoned Fortuner still rated as a rival for the Blue Oval product, as well as for entry Jeep Cherokee.
Fortuner’s promoted attractions over more car-like sports utilities are rich seam of torque, 420Nm at low rpm, afforded by the turbodiesel, the genuine low range, generous ground clearance, a host of dirt work assists - hill descent, hill hold, a locking rear diff – and an excellent towing ability.
It also reminds of the comprises a ladder frame, and commensurate rear suspension design requirements, unavoidably have on seating potentials and on dynamic behaviour.
The second and third rows place higher than is possible in a unitary-bodied SUV, there’s less headroom and while the Hilux’s rear leaf springs are replaced by coils, the tough truck-like attitude that enhances the off-road side inevitably flavours on-seal attitude.
It sees the customer base including farmers, contractors and and lifestyle block holders plus a percentage of urban adventurers.