Toyota says vehicle accessories of all kinds are going to become big business for the brand.
Last year, Toyota's TRD department developed a lift kit for the Toyota Tacoma, and it has been available for customers to order since. This year Toyota introduced the highly-anticipated kit for the all-new Tundra, lifting it by a good three inches.
It's clear automotive accessories are big business. One Ford dealer is building a $10 million Bronco Barn to sell accessories for the off-roader.
Clearly, Toyota wants a slice of the accessory pie. In an interview with Automotive News, Kay Sanchez, Toyota accessories sales manager, says the brand is pushing hard into this segment, with plans to offer scores of dealer-installed, warrantied items for a large chunk of the brand's lineup.
"We started with the Tacoma lift kit last year, and then we released the Tundra lift kit this year, and we could not be more excited to do so and really offer what customers are already putting on their vehicle in a way that doesn't void the warranty," says Sanchez.
Toyota already has plans to broaden its accessories offerings, introducing a run of Associated Accessory Products from brands you've undoubtedly heard of, like Yakima. Some of these items could be seen displayed on Toyota models at this year's SEMA show.
The program takes an item, like a Yakima rack, and assigns it a part number within Toyota and Lexus' parts catalogs.
It's a brilliant idea, allowing customers to order the things they'd typically go to the aftermarket for right from Toyota.
On top of that, Automotive News reports that customers will be able to roll the cost of an item into their financing. The outlet also says that Toyota will not include the installation cost in its accessories pricing.
"The AAP program will make customization a seamless experience for every owner, and every part will be validated by Toyota," Lisa Materazzo, head of marketing for Toyota.
Toyota's focus on off-road and overlanding accessories is clear.
This year, an entirely new Trailhunter brand was introduced at SEMA, and the Japanese brand brought eight off-road and overland concepts to the show. Predictably, some of the first new accessories listed are tents and racks from Yakima, air compressors by ARB, and fog lights by Rigid Industries.
Finally, Toyota is looking at other applications for accessories, like catalytic converter shields from Millercat.
Danny Wilson, dealer principal at Wilson Toyota of Ames, Iowa, and chairman of the Toyota National Dealer Advisory Council, says it's about value. "The value of it is what it means to the buyer," Wilson said to AN. "If it's their car and it's personalized the way they want it, there's value in that. It's really set up so that it doesn't slow the sale down, doesn't slow the transaction down."