Toyota Plans TRD Expansion
As the largest car company in the world, Toyota stands as a titan above the rest of the industry, but it has a pretty big problem: Its customers keep getting older. Toyota has made moves to address the trend in the past, the biggest of which was establishing Scion as a youth-oriented brand, but FR-S aside, that plan sort of backfired.
Now, Toyota might be implementing yet another new strategy to get the attention of millennials. Speaking with Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota General Manager Bill Fey divulged potential plans to leverage the TRD brand (Toyota Racing Development) into a few existing models, most likely starting with the Camry.
"I think we’d probably start with Camry and see if there is a little magic we could work with some of the TRD equity that we have," said Fay. "Camrys are out there during season racing every Saturday and Sunday in NASCAR. So, I think there’s a logical fit there." A Camry TRD could arrive by the end of 2015.
Fay didn’t elaborate much on what a Camry TRD would look like, but did suggest some NASCAR-inspired modifications were being looked at. We wouldn’t expect to find an 850-horsepower V-8 from a Sprint Cup racer under the hood, but a sportier suspension, a more-aggressive appearance package and a slight bump in power seem likely.
Click past the jump to read more about Toyota’s future TRD models.
Why it matters
Fay mentioned the TRD brand’s “equity.” Toyota introduced TRD offroad packages for the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner early in 2014, which the company says have been attracting younger buyers and selling above sticker price. Some 40 percent of Tacoma buyers opt for the TRD package, and the brand does hold some cachet among younger buyers in the Gran Tursimo generation.
If done right, things could go exactly according to plan. Early indications suggest that Ford will find success with its newly realigned Ford Performance division, but other companies have made the mistake of diluting performance brands. Look no further than Chevrolet in the 2000s. It was sticking SS badges on more than a few cars that perhaps didn’t need or deserve them.
The lesson to be learned here is that it would be very easy to dilute TRD’s equity. A half-baked Camry TRD could do more harm than good in the long run, but if it’s any good, then it could be just what Toyota needs to inject some excitement into its lineup. We’re fans of the Toyota’s TRD off-roaders. If TRD road cars use a similar template, then we might finally have a Camry on our hands that doesn’t lull us to sleep.
Source: Automotive News