When it comes to safety-critical accessories, there are few that surpass the towbar – which is why Toyota sets especially high standards in this regard. The design, engineering and manufacturing integrity of Toyota accessories is critical, hence Toyota-branded approved equipment such as a towbar has to undergo a rigorous process of prototyping, measuring, analysis and testing before receiving approval. And, as long as that vehicle model remains in production, the supplier must undergo regular, rigorous audits to ensure ongoing compliance.
Toyota uses only leading towbar suppliers, thereby ensuring that all minimum South African market legal requirements are adhered to. This is only the beginning in terms of testing, as Toyota requires their towbars to comply with more rigorous internal approval processes. More importantly, an approved towbar is developed alongside the car for which it is destined, to ensure that it lasts as well as the rest of the vehicle does. To do this, everything must meet Toyota’s stringent Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR) standards; and, in the case of a towbar, this process starts early in the design phase − where a strength analysis is made and the ideal position for the actual tow-ball is determined.
This information is then given to Toyota Motor Corporation’s main accessory department. A multitude of steps follows in order to come up with a towbar specification. This takes into account dozens of factors, including ground clearance, and clearances to components such as the spare wheel, the exhaust outlet, and the bumper. It will specify the mounting points, the integration with wiring harness, laydown material and fastener requirements, and a whole lot more besides.