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4th of July Auto News From Around The Web

Happy 4th of July America! It’s been 232 years since we told the King of England to shove it, yet I still feel obliged to fight with every Briton I see. Now on to the news…

Mahindra's new pickup trucks.

Mahindra’s new pickup trucks for the U.S. market feature 4-cylinder diesel engines with 300 lb-ft of torque and 30 mpg. The will arrive in the U.S. this time next year.

What the *hell* is a Mahindra? – You’re going to hear a lot of people say this in the next year, and since you’re reading this you’ll know the answer. Mahindra is an Indian company that builds quite a few trucks and SUVs in India. They’re going to export a smallish pickup truck with a 4 cylinder diesel engine to the US, starting in late 2009. Cost isn’t known yet, but the consensus is the trucks will start around $20k. Fuel economy is supposed to be good too – 20-30 MPG. The engine is rumored to have 150hp and 300lb-ft of torque, and Mahindra claims they will be offering a diesel-electric hybrid option in 2010. While quality concerns and name recognition will keep this brand from selling big volumes right away, the combination of great gas mileage and low cost might be enough to entice a lot of consumers.

Toyota Tundra Sales Tanking, HD Tundra In Trouble?

While it’s not entirely unexpected, sales of the Toyota Tundra plummeted nearly 53% in June 2008 compared to June 2007. Adjusted for selling days (only 24 in June 08′ compared to 27 in June 07′), that still works out to a 47% sales decline month-to-month. Year over year, however, Tundra sales have only dropped about 8%. This is due to the fact Toyota sold relatively few Tundras in the first quarter of 2007 – the new Tundra did not debut until late February of that year. Toyota then finished 2007 strong with Tundra sales totaling 196,555 trucks.

We have revised our 2008 Tundra sales projection, and now anticipate Toyota will sell approximately 150,000 Tundras in 2008. Considering the condition of the new vehicle marketplace and the prospect of competing against the new 2009 Ford F150 and 2009 Dodge Ram, it’s entirely possible our projection of 150k Tundras will be reduced further.

It’s important to remember that Toyota is not alone – every truck manufacturer is facing double-digit year over year sales declines in their truck lines. As of right now, Toyota Tundra year over year sales have declined less than any other half-ton truck (excepting the Honda Ridgeline, but that’s not really a truck). In other words, don’t let any Ford, Chevy, or Dodge owners tell you Toyota’s in trouble. If anything, the Dodge Ram is the most likely candidate to disappear. Rumors that Chrysler has exhausted their operating cash have some analysts convinced they’re likely to file bankruptcy.

What this means to you: If you’re in the market for a new truck, this is nothing but great news. Incentives are only going to increase from this point forward. If you’re looking to get rid of your truck, however, this news isn’t too good. As new vehicle incentives increase, used vehicle values drop. We’re also concerned that this weakness in Tundra sales will delay the development of the HD Tundra. Some analysts project that an HD Tundra with a 7.4L diesel will debut as soon as 2012, but we believe this projection is a bit optimistic. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota completely paused development of the HD version of the Tundra pending changes in the marketplace.

The 4.4L diesel Tundra (light duty), however, is still on track and should be available late next year as a 2010 model.

Tundra Sales Figures:

June 2007: 21,727 – June 2008: 10,238

Total sales thru June 2007: 82,840 – Total sales thru June 2008: 76,516

Rumor: Ford Dropping The Boss 6.2 V8 Engine

Automotive News is reporting that key Ford suppliers are being told to stop developing parts for Ford’s 6.2L V8. Sighting an interview on and other sources, Automotive News is reporting that Ford will most likely eliminate the 6.2L V8 from their truck line-up.

2009 Ford F150 platinum

A 2009 F150 “Platinum” edition – courtesy of

What this means: One of the main criticisms of the F150 is their lack of a true high-powered gas engine. Considering that Dodge’s 5.7L Hemi, GM’s 6.0L Vortec, and Toyota’s 5.7L i-Force all generate substantially more horsepower than the F150’s biggest gas engine (the 5.4L Triton), Ford was developing the 6.2L V8 to be the proverbial “king of the mountain.” Early figures for the Boss 6.2 were 400-450hp, and as much as 500 lb-ft of torque. However it seems that new CAFE fuel economy requirements and higher gas prices have conspired to eliminate the 6.2L.

How this will impact the new F150:

TundraSolutions Event in Myrtle Beach member Tundrav8Yamaha sent us some photos of a recent get together for TundraSolutions members in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In addition to TundraV8Yamaha, other members in attendance included Cyberbilly, Tundrarenalin, Ademadude1960, Mark and Jamie from Sparks Toyota, Sanosuke, thePYRITEship, Brandon1, Wylcat, Blackmbj, friends, family, and some other TundraSolutions members we’re forgetting about. If you attended and we forget about you, contact us and we’ll get it fixed right away.

The meet at Myrtle Beach.

Some of the trucks in attendance. Lots of people attended, talked, showed off a little, and got out and did some good old fashioned muddin’.

Ford Delays New F150 Launch

Ford leadership has decided to delay the launch of the 2009 F150 by a couple of months. Originally scheduled to begin shipment in July, this latest announcement from Ford says they won’t begin shipping the new truck until September.

Ford F150 Launch delayed

The 2009 F150 FX4.

Quick Analysis: This move makes a lot of sense. Launching a new model in the summertime is tough – customers aren’t expecting new models until later in the year, and dealers are usually selling old models right alongside the new ones. Make the incentives too generous on the old model, and the new models will sit. Or vice-versa.

The big question – How will consumers perceive this delay? While it’s likely that most customers will accept the announcement at face value, some customers will undoubtedly believe this is a further sign of weakness at Ford. We look forward to testing the new F150, and we’re happy to wait a couple more months.