opt for a composite bed, as with the Tacoma, nor show off any trick features
such as hidden bed storage, an AC outlet or adjustable tie-downs. The
show truck didn’t even have a bed liner but the bed design clearly
has 2-tier loading decks and slots for cargo dividers. Bed dimensions
are 78.7 inches long, 65 inches wide at the wheel wells, 50 inches between
wheel wells and 22.3 inches deep.
Not much technical information was revealed but officials said the next
Tundra will have much larger disc brakes with 4-piston calipers, a wider
frame made from 30-percent higher tensile strength steel, 10.5-inch ring
gear in the rear differential and extra heavy-duty cooling and electrical
systems for towing. The tow hitch will be integrated into the frame, not
bolted on, according to officials.
rumors indicate Toyota will develop a ¾-ton heavy-duty model off
this platform and offer a diesel. Toyota officials have even given hints
if not subtle confirmation. Lentz was quoted in a Bloomberg story that
Toyota is studying the cost a diesel as well as a gas-electric hybrid
for the new Tundra. But Nissan has also stated it wants a diesel, and
surely Toyota won’t be the lone full-size truckmaker without a diesel.
Also, Amstock said one of the engineers took a 5th-wheel trailer to campgrounds.
Obviously a half-ton won’t tote a 5th-wheel, so the company must
be planning for a heavy-duty model.
just another aspect of us trying to understand the market,” said
Amstock in an interview with PUTC. “I wouldn’t read anything
more than learning what the needs are. We’re still selling half-tons
here and that’s what we’re focusing on in the short term.”
are another hot segment but Amstock didn’t confirm any plans for
a special edition.
not ready to say we’ll have an uber-luxury model or not. We’re
almost doubling the model lineup from where we are, so I think you’ll
see a very complete lineup,” he said.
won’t see the new Tundra until late December or early January, so
Toyota promises to release more information about additional models and
features. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company will embark
on an aggressive campaign to educate consumers about the Tundra’s
advantages and approach to building full-size trucks. The plans calls
for consumer briefings and test drives at baseball parks, state fairs
and agriculture shows.
Toyota will expand its NASCAR involvement to race in the Busch and Nextel
Cup events. Currently Toyota runs in the Craftsman Truck Series but the
Camry is testing for a 2007 debut. As everyone knows, the Big 3 don’t
run NASCAR to sell Monte Carlos or Fusions. Rather, they want to appeal
to the fans driving trucks and SUVs to the track. Toyota will also devote
resources to its relationship with the bass-fishing community, sponsor
Supercross and have a presence at truck equipment shows.
still have to earn it,” said Amstock. “This isn’t build
a truck and they will come. We have to earn our credibility and respect
for this truck. Investment in those properties is done in anticipation
of increasing our exposure and awareness with consumers who typically
may not know that much about us.”
shopper appears to be households where there’s a Camry or Lexus
parked in the driveway next to an American full-size truck.
customers certainly give us some opportunity,” said Amstock. “But
you have to remember: car QDR (quality, dependability and reliability)
doesn’t necessarily translate equally to truck owners. There’s
another D: dependability.”
remains to be seen whether or not the new Tundra draws customers away
from the hot-selling.
always some risk of cannibalism when you have a product lineup as deep
as our,” said Amstock, who adds the full-size customer appears to
be very focused and unlikely to cross-shop Tacoma. “But we do have
a few things up our sleeves to keep the excitement going with Tacoma.”
will be built at the current production facility in Princeton, Indiana,
and a new $850-million assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas. The Texas
plant has the capacity to build 800 Tundras per day, or one every 73 seconds.
The second plant gives Toyota the capacity to build around 300,000 pickups
a year, but the company hasn’t released sales goals.