AutoNews Calls Toyota Tundra “A Bit Player”
Most often, journalists have an over tendency to spin things. Heck we do it from time to time (mainly to grab your attention), but twisting and inadequately covering a story is just bad journalism. Here is the rant.
First, here is the link to the AutoNews.com story. Our main exception to the story is this: if you take Lentz’s two quotes and one indirect quote and put them together, it makes more sense to what he is saying. Not that way it was portrayed in the story. Mr. Rechtin makes it seem like Toyota is throwing in the towel on being a full-size truck competitor.
Here are Mr. Lentz’s quotes together:
“We’re never going to challenge the Big 3 in terms of volumes,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North American region, said in an interview.
Now, he says Toyota will combine compact and full-sized pickup volumes when measuring its success in the truck market.
“Some shoppers will only consider compact,” Lentz said. “Some will only consider full-sized. But in the middle, there is some interchangeability between those two.”
The reality is that Lentz is simply saying that Toyota is going to measure success in the truck market LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES. Ford releases their F-series truck sales numbers (basically every truck they make), RAM trucks does the same and GM separates out their numbers (Silverado and Sierra) for some analysts, but combines them for marketing purposes. Why won’t Toyota do the same?
Now, the “shock” factor that Mr. Rechtin is trying to obtain is that the sales projections of the 2006 Toyota Tundra failed to reach the target of 300,000. That 300,000 target is “within spitting distance of the Dodge Ram.” Ok. Let’s COMBINE the numbers for say March, 2013 using the numbers from Pickuptrucks.com.
- 168,843 – Ford F-Series
- 167,124 – GM Trucks (all)
- 77,594 – RAM Trucks
- 63,047 – Toyota Trucks
- 17,290 – Nissan Trucks
- 4,265 – Honda Trucks (ok, just Ridgeline)
- 448 – Suzuki Trucks (Equator)
Hmm…. Looks like Toyota Trucks are barely behind RAM Trucks.
Now, Mr. Rechtin does point out that the recession took a big hit on truck sales. We would also suggest that the Earthquake and Tsunami had an impact too. Parts suppliers couldn’t supply factories and new vehicle production lagged. And research and development took a back seat too. In fact, Toyota and their pickups are finally seeing restored inventories on many dealer lots.
The last and probably most disappointing statement Mr. Rechtin makes is: “Both the Tundra and Tacoma now come off the same assembly line in San Antonio. If the Tundra can’t reach its numbers, Toyota can crank up Tacoma production.”
Cut back production of the Tundra? Look, the Tacoma sells really well and we are big fans of it. But, the Tundra also is selling really well. Both vehicles are seeing double-digit increases in sales volumes (March, 2013 – Tacoma +22.9%, Tundra +15.4%) and a new Tundra is coming out this fall.
The truth is that I respect the heck out of automotive writers, but this article is simply wrong.
What do you think? Is the Tundra “a bit player?”
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com