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
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.
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.
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
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.
The Double Cab replaces the Access Cab as the middle sibling of the family.
It features rear forward-opening doors with outside handles. Versions
of a standard cab and larger 4-door crew cab configurations were not revealed.
right,” promised Press. “We’ll have an even bigger 4-door
to show you when we get closer to launch.”