Harry, not only did Toyota of Japan build front lockers for the 80 series, but also for dozens of different models of the 70 series as well. And they also offer them in certain models of the current 100 series, overseas. Whether they'll offer them in this rig or not, none of knows. And since we're picking on Japanese manufactures, don't forget about Nissan's overseas rigs, which were and are also equipped with F/R lockers.
As for build and design quality regarding rigs made in Japan, I still think it can be argued that Japanese built Toyotas are better, but that is a subjective viewpoint is that hard to prove, so lets just leave it as my opinion. I could give you antidotal evidence, but it's a matter of opinion. As far as Toyota quality verses certain other vehicles, whether domestic or not, (What's a domestic anyway? Many Fords and GMs are built outside the US and Chrysler is German owned and run) anyone on this board who has owned a Toyota/Honda/Subaru and owned or driven other rigs like I have, understands the difference, period. Nuff said about that.
However, I think there is a distinct difference between Toyotas "designed" in Japan for global markets and Toyotas "designed" for North American. Just look at the new 4Runner and the Land Cruiser 100, for example. Both were designed and built in Japan. Both are extremely heavy duty, compared to the North American only models, like the Tundra, Sequoia, and Tacoma. If you'd like, I could run through it point by point, but I think most of you understand the differences between these vehicles, if you've read any of my past posts. The differences also extend to the latest designs of the Hilux and Tacoma. The Hilux is far stronger, uses a 4Runner style fully boxed frame, mainly because it's expected to carry 1 ton loads, just like the prior Hilux models.
The North American made Toyotas were largely designed by American designers, especially the latest ones like the 2005 Tacoma. They were given much leeway in which OEM manufactures they could use and in design. They were expected to see paved American roads for 99.999% of their life and that was considered in the design. But most importantly, especially in the case of the pick-ups, they were never going to be rated for more than 1/2 ton loads, so, unlike Japanese designed and built pick-ups, they could factor that into the design. And that's why we see things like C-channel frames on the Tacoma and Tundra, which are a big weight savings, compared to the 4Runner and Land Cruiser, which are much heavier, but heavier duty as well.
Just slapping a Toyota name on a design or a factory does not make for a high quality rig. Ask anyone who owns the famous Brazilian Bandeirante, the FJ40 design that lasted until 2001. It was total crap. They were famous for breaking down and falling apart, because, they used local OEM parts and design and couldn't match the quality of the Japanese built rigs. That's an extreme example, but it goes to show that Toyota doesn't have an international policy that rigs built outside of Japan have to meet Japanese built standards by 100%, like some folks assume.
I'm not saying that American built Toyotas are crap. I wouldn't hesitate to own a Tacoma. Especially the old models. But I would understand that the quality of that rig and it's design, while better than any other American sold mini-truck, is inferior in many ways to the older Toyota pick-ups and the Toyota pick-ups currently built overseas. If I had to buy another Toyota in the future, I would definitely feel much better if it was designed and made in Japan. That's just my opinion.
Agreed... spot on...
Brian K. Gallus
I have nothing important to say.