9/8th Scale Concept Pickup Points to 2007 Tundra
01-05-04 06:50 PT
like Toyota doesn't get caught very often with its guard down, but the
timing of the FTX Concept introduction shows Toyota is feeling the heat
from Nissan's new Titan,
Ford's redesigned F-150
and widespread criticism that the current Tundra is only a '7/8th' scale
full-size pickup. The rapidly changing market is quickly leaving Toyota
response so far to these competitive challenges has been the recent introduction
of its all new Tundra
Double Cab - a truck that has larger interior dimensions than either
the Titan or F-150 but is still limited by a weaker powertrain, performance
numbers and factory constrained production volumes.
to do to prove Toyota is serious about building market share in full-size
pickups? Provide a sneak peak of its next truck as quickly as possible
in the form of the FTX.
The FTX was
jointly designed by Toyota's Advanced Product Strategy Group and Calty,
Toyota's North American-based research and design center located in Newport
is literally the biggest indicator of how much pressure Toyota's designers
must have been under. To clearly state that they 'get it' the designers
created a 9/8th scale 'super light-duty' pickup. The FTX could have been
called Big Blue.
looked to Toyota's truck heritage for styling cues that reflect Toyota's
lauded Land Cruiser and elements from last year's FJ40 concept SUV to
provide the FTX with character and soul.
emphasize full-size truck strength, Kevin Hunter, Calty vice president,
says the FTX's brawny front end reflects "the power of a fist while
the rest of the truck is a muscular arm pushing that fist forward."
designer, Craig Kember, also pointed to the customized and lifted full
size pickups often seen in Southern California's Orange County as a key
influence in the creation of the FTX's commanding ride height.
that, "[The FTX] is a truck for the good old boys. It's a full-size
truck they can feel confident driving as a Toyota. American core truck
buyers are our market."
If you look
closely, you may also spot some influence from Volkswagen's Advanced
Activity Concept that was shown at the 2000 NAIAS. AAC styling is
particularly prominent in the side view proportions, cab configuration
and rear end. This is ironic, perhaps, because Ferdinand Piech, the former
chairman of Volkswagen AG who gave the green light to the AAC, has been
a long time fan of the Tundra.
The cab configuration
is especially unique. From the outside it looks like an extended cab but
the interior has the space of a double cab. It was rumored amongst journalists
that the roofline of the FTX is the same as the next Tundra.
the FTX's interior a "fusion of brawny structure, intelligent design
and sophisticated materials."
"flying T" console separates the driver from the front passenger
and also houses the instrument panel and a large 3D information display
seats feature huge grab handles for keeping steady under the most intense
driving conditions while the rear seats wrap around the back of the cab
similar to boat seating and fold away to provide ample indoor stowage
engine is a hybrid V8 gasoline-electric that builds on Toyota's strengths
and good reputation in alternative powertrains.
Toyota Motor Sales executive vice president and COO says the hybrid motor
promises to pump out loads of torque while delivering V6 fuel efficiency.
Press provided no specific numbers but did say, "expect to see Toyota's
next full size pickup offer a hybrid powertrain sometime after its debut.
It would be an excellent engine for a heavy duty truck."
provided details about the next Tundra, which will be built at a new plant
in San Antonio, Texas for the 2007 model year; 2006 production year.
continue to build body-on-frame using an all new full-size truck platform
developed specifically for the next generation Tundra but it may have
other possible applications outside of North America. This new frame will
not be shared with any other future Toyota pickups, unlike Nissan's Titan
chassis which will be shared with the all new 2005 Nissan Frontier.
continue to build regular cabs even though the demand for these kind of
trucks has dropped significantly over the past several years in favor
of extended and double cab pickups. Press expects to see the bulk of regular
cab Tundras used for commercial fleet sales.
Press "expects to see the next generation Tundra lead the full-size
truck class in all significant areas" when it bows in two years.