Toyota Tundra Debut
With a bead now set directly on the Big 3’s favorite playground, Toyota unveiled its next generation Tundra in America’s heartland, the Chicago Auto Show. Surrounded by a stage called Tundra Territory, Toyota officials pulled the wraps off a new truck that is significantly bigger and more powerful than the previous model. Analysts and other automotive observers quickly portrayed the introduction as the “most feared” by Detroit automakers.
With Ford, Chevy, GMC and Dodge making 9 of every 10 full-size pickups sold in America, this new truck is viewed as a direct, full-scale assault on a segment that accounts for 2.5 million in annual sales. Last year Toyota sold 120,000 Tundras. While not even five percent of the total market, the tally was a 12 percent increase over 2004 sales at a time when Ford and Dodge were down and Chevy/GMC needed heavy summer incentives to record improvements. And that’s with a Toyota truck that has seen few significant changes since it came out as a 1999 model and still carries the stigma of being a seven-eighths scale pickup when matched against the bigger competition.
“The market has changed since we launched the original Tundra seven years ago,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s vice president of sales and marketing, during the introduction. “New offerings in the full-size pickup segment feature more power, more towing capacity and more body configurations.”
The new 2007 Tundra won’t be an also-ran in the numbers game this time. A new 5.7-liter iForce V8 expected to be ULEV rated will be matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Final horsepower and torque figures were not released, but 330 to 350 ponies are not out of the question. Toyota also announced a 10,000-pound max towing capacity for the ½-ton lineup, up from the 7,000-pound limit on the current Tundra.
While Toyota officials didn’t reveal the entire lineup, they did promise three different cabs, three bed lengths and three trim levels. An updated 4.7-liter V8 and the standard 4.0-liter V6 engines currently available will carry over.
“In all, the new Tundra will be offered in over 30 different models when combining the trio of engines, three cabs, two- and four-wheel-drive, three trim levels and three different bed sizes,” said Toyota President and COO Jim Press. The current Tundra has 18 configurations.
was the new Double Cab 4x4 Limited. It rides on a 145.7-inch wheelbase
and has an overall length of 228.7 inches. This truck had a 78.7-inch
long bed, or about 6.5 feet, and officials also said there will be an
8-foot bed. No official word on the third bed length, but most of the
competition offers a short 5.5-foot bed on some crew cabs.
“That’s right,” promised Press. “We’ll have an even bigger 4-door to show you when we get closer to launch.”