2014 Denver Auto Show Recap – Tundra Frame Changes?
I was recently at the 2014 Denver Auto show for the media days. Between eating and drinking too much, I learned a few things. Here is a recap.
Before I begin, I want to share how much I love auto shows. Where else can you in one day talk with Ford, GM, Ram, Toyota and Nissan? The Denver show is a “regional” show, so you don’t get the “big wigs” or big car reveals. Yet, the regional PR reps that do come have some interesting pieces of information.
The HUGE piece of news I have on the Tundra is they are working on reworking the frame under the bed. The goal is to improve ride quality. My guess is Toyota is sick and tired of being badgered over it and finally has the incentive to do something with strong truck sales. I would expect an “oh by the way” announcement at the 2015 Chicago auto show.
Also, really big news is the Tacoma is being redone. I was lead to believe Toyota is currently either working on the new plans or is in the planning phases. My guess is they are building a prototype and are further ahead than we think. The new GM twins and increased competition from the Nissan Frontier are finally giving Sweers the resources to do something. And plus, with the GM twins out, Toyota has a competitor to study.
There is also some talk about Toyota keeping both the TRD PRO 4Runner AND the Trail edition as package options. I am a bit surprised by this since Trail edition sales account for only 15-20 percent of all 4Runner sales. Seems like the TRD PRO would compete directly with the Trail edition. Those vehicles would then split the 20 percent of sales. Doesn’t seem like a good business plan to me.
I got a chance to sit in the new Ford F-150 and to examine some of the aluminum weld points. Say what you will about Ford, the new F-150 is really impressive. While the aluminum is getting the bulk of the attention, the interior upgrades are going to be class leading. If and this is still a BIG IF, Ford can sell the truck at the same MSRP, convince consumers aluminium is the way to go and handle the repair question, this truck is going to lead the industry.
Now, will the Ford have the condensation issue resolved? That is another question and I have yet to hear a Ford rep bring that up.
Sitting in the new GM twins and comparing it to the other models, one thing is clear. It is just OK. I really want to get excited about it, yet there just isn’t enough there.
They did unveil the new Chevy HD High Country package. It is a nice package, yet it isn’t that special when compared to other luxury trim lines from other manufactures. It just lacks real character like the 1794 and Laramie Longhorn with their custom leather stitching and prominent interior badging.
Personally, I would rank the higher trim levels as 1794, Laramie Longhorn, King Ranch and then Denali/High Country. Kudos to GM for introducing a new trim level, it is just too conservative for my tastes. Actually, the word “conservative” is how I would describe all of GM’s efforts. The truck’s new styling, their pricing strategy and product roll out have all been conservative.
Also, GM seems to be really excited about the mid-size market. A rep says he thinks it will EXPLODE in the near future. I’m not so sure it will explode. Yet, nobody knows what the diesel Colorado will do. With the Ram EcoDiesel success, maybe the diesel Colorado will surprise us.
Speaking about Ram, they have a lot to be excited about. For the first time in years, the Ram 1500 has great performance with reliability (so far). I spoke with a dealership owner who agreed with me that the introduction of the ZF transmission was THE turning point for Ram. He has sold cars for 30 plus years and is pretty excited about Ram’s changes.
I expected Ram to be bragging about beating Chevy last month. Instead, they were really humble and low-key. More low-key than I have seen them in the past. My sense is they are really, really on a mission and realize the end goal isn’t to just beat Chevy. They want to top GM completely and then target Ford. These guys are pulling the right strings right now. We will see how things go.
Oh and by the way, during lunch the Ram guys were reading the comments on Pickuptrucks.com. They probably read this site’s comments from time to time. Go ahead and say Hi!
For the first time in a while, Nissan has some things to talk about. The Nissan Frontier Cummins diesel WILL get built. This truck along with the GM twins is going to really dent Tacoma sales. It will be interesting to see how Toyota responds.
Also, the new Nissan Titan WILL be unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. It is expected to have a diesel engine, more cab/bed offerings and a truly commercial option.
While I was at the show, Jason heard that a three-row Jeep SUV (essentially a Durango clone with Jeep styling) is on its’ way in 2015.
He says, “Jeep sales have been on a tear lately, and a “Wagoneer” or “Grand Wagoneer” would fit nicely into the Jeep lineage while also growing the brand. It’s all but certain to have the same VM Vitori diesel that the Ram 1500 offers, which should make it acceptable under the new CAFE rules.
What’s more, Ford is probably going to kill the Expedition that year (they’ve been thinking about killing the Expedition for a while now), so Jeep might slide right into their spot and pick up some sales.
The Sequoia is likely (but not certain) to go away about the same time, so Jeep could really kill it if the Exped and Sequoia go away when the Wagoneer debuts.”
Lastly, I have signed an agreement to be a regular contributor on Pickuptrucks.com. This will give me the opportunity to try out a larger variety of vehicles and increase my insight into the full-size truck market. No worries, I will absolutely continue to write for this site. Just another opportunity and wanted to give the readers a heads up.
I’m off to the Big Apple for the 2014 New York Auto Show next week. While it is normally a car show, I’ll see what I can learn and share.
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com