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Toyota’s All New Tundra

The most important vehicle launch in Toyota’s 50-year history in North America

Domestic truck fans dug in their heels while import enthusiasts stood up and cheered for the launch of the 2007 Toyota Tundra. The all new Tundra arrived fourteen years after the stillbirth of Toyota’s first attempt at a big American truck, the 7/8-scale V6-powered T100.

This time Toyota delivered a true, full size hauler able to compete directly against half-tons from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and GMC. The Tundra’s six-speed 5.7-liter i-Force V8 is one of the strongest gas engines available, rated at 381-hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. A Tundra Regular Cab 4x2 can tow up to 10,800-lbs.

Toyota has planned for full size sales numbers, too. The company set an ambitious goal to sell 200,000 new Tundras in its first year. Through November 2007, sales were up 57.7% over 2006, to 177,336 units. And that’s just the start. Between its legacy Princeton, Indiana truck plant and brand new $1.3-billion San Antonio, Texas factory, Toyota has the capacity to build up to 350,000 Tundras a year.

And to hammer home the message that it won’t back down one step against the Detroit Three in full size trucks, Toyota built an oversized dually project Tundra for the 2007 SEMA show, with an 8.0-liter Hino diesel motor under the hood.

The questions for next year and beyond are: How long will it take Toyota to work out the bugs in the new Tundra? How much will lingering quality concerns and a slowing U.S. economy impact Tundra’s future sales? And when will Toyota move into the three-quarter and one-ton segments?

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