Diesel Tundra Update: Diesel Tundra Likely in 2009

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UPDATE – This post is out-of-date – see the latest news on the Diesel Tundra for more info.

Isuzu and Toyota made a recent announcement about a diesel they’re developing that shines some light on their development of a diesel Toyota Tundra.

GOOD NEWS: While not specifically having anything to do with the Tundra, Toyota’s recent announcement (see link below) contains some enlightening information. The press release indicates that Toyota and Isuzu can recuperate diesel development costs even if the diesel engine they’ve developed only sells 20k units per year. If Toyota can recover their R&D costs on on such a small number of engines, the sales volume needed to justify producing a diesel variant of the Tundra is probably lower than we estimated in our last discussion of a Diesel Toyota Tundra.

If we conservatively assume that Toyota will need to sell 40k diesel engines per year to cover R&D costs, Toyota only needs to boost Tundra sales by 20% to reach their “break-even” point. In 2006, Dodge sold 150k diesels, GM 200k, and Ford about 320k diesel powered pickups. Granted, some of those vehicles were “fleet” heavy duty offerings that Toyota may not compete with, but if Toyota only reaches 10% diesel market share, they’ll more than break-even on their diesel development costs.

Is this an indicator that Toyota is producing a Diesel Tundra? We think so — Toyota continues to demonstrate interest and investment in the diesel market, and the pending passage of new CAFE regulations requiring better fuel economy encourage Toyota to put more emphasis on diesel technology. Considering that Toyota Vice President Kazuo Okamoto has stated the Tundra is going to be Toyota’s first U.S. diesel, consider this another sign that a Diesel Tundra is coming ASAP.

Why do you think the Diesel Tundra will debut in 2009? The industry consensus is that engine development takes 2 – 3 years. Toyota announced a partnership with Isuzu to develop diesel engines in June of this year, the idea being that Toyota would be able to bring diesel variants to market faster with Isuzu’s help. If R&D for a diesel Tundra began immediately after the partnership with Isuzu was solidified, (which is easy to imagine based on the Tundra’s sales performance this year) that would mean that the Tundra diesel engine will be ready for production in 2009 or 2010. We believe that Toyota will most likely assemble the new Tundra diesel engine from components already available, making 2 years a likely time frame.

How big will the Tundra’s diesel engine be? It’s still a mystery. Toyota may be adapting a diesel for the U.S. from one currently in production somewhere else in the world, or they may be developing a completely new engine. The 2007 Tundra Diesel SEMA concept featured an 8.0L Hino engine, but we doubt that will be the final offering…Ford is planning to offer a 4.4L diesel in the F150 in 2010, and Ford will offer a slightly larger version in their SuperDuty line. Certainly not anything as big as the 8.0L Hino though — such a big engine would only worsen emissions and fuel economy. Expect the Tundra diesel in the 6.0L range, with the possibility that Toyota’s first diesel might be a little smaller than everyone else’s (just like their first V8 was).

We’ll continue to update you about diesel development as more information comes in. Read the press release.

Filed Under: Diesel Tundra


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  1. Steve says:

    I saw a picture of that thing and it looks like a monster! Not sure if I’d actually take that thing on the road, but then again I love my little 07′ model.

    Just installed my new K&N from Advance Auto Parts – wasn’t even that hard…


  2. […] for a hybrid. Here’s our article that explains why we believe there will be a diesel in 09′: Diesel Toyota Tundra Likely in 2009 | tundraheadquarters.com Here’s our article that explains why we believe there will be a hybrid in 09/10′: Toyota Tundra […]

  3. kurtis says:

    They already have a diesel engine that will power the new landcruisers sold outside the us….so they could use that asap…282 hp and over 400 lb ft of torque…

  4. Brett says:

    For what purpose would Toy make the diesel tundra unless the payload and towing were significantly increased? And to do that you need a new frame, axles, etc, ie a new truck. I’m not understanding something unless you are suggesting a HD Tundra?

  5. admin says:

    Kurtis — Good comment. The Land Cruiser diesel will be powerful enough to drop into a new Tundra for sure, so that could be the engine. We’ve been reluctant to predict what motor will ultimately be used since we really don’t understand all the emission differences between US diesels and the rest.

    Brett — A couple of things. The current Tundra is close to a 3/4 ton truck in terms of payload and towing. The idea we have is that the HD Tundra could be nothing more than a beefed-up 1/2 ton. That would keep Toyota’s development costs down. Ford did that once upon a time with the F150…the offered an F250LD on the F150 platform, than a regular F250 HD. Customers were confused so it didn’t take off, but it seems like a good idea.

    As for a non-HD diesel Tundra, we think that’s a likely scenario too. The fuel economy rating would be much better with a diesel in a half ton, and the recent CAFE bill (requiring a “fleet” average of 35mpg) gives Toyota plenty of incentive to develop a diesel engine for the Tundra. Look at Ford’s rumored F150 diesel as proof.

  6. me says:

    That’s quite a leap to conclusion based on the articles cited. the latest press release is obviously concerning a diesel engine developed for european cars. Doubtful it would be appropriate for a pickup, and it won’t be ready for production ’til 2012. I certainly hope they are developing a diesel Tundra, but not convinced this recent press release is related.

  7. admin says:

    The big news in the press release is that Toyota and Isuzu can afford to develop an engine that will only sell 20k units per year. That’s a pretty low sales volume for such a major investment. If we conservatively estimate Toyota would need twice as many Tundra diesels to recover that investment, that means Toyota has an immediate business case for developing a Tundra diesel.

    If you take a look at our other diesel posts, we think you’ll see the same pattern we have.

  8. […] being crappy, and tranny to be able to handle massive torque without probs then im on it!!! Diesel Toyota Tundra Likely in 2009 | tundraheadquarters.com Toyota Tundra Diesel Dually Project Truck – 2007 SEMA Auto […]

  9. jim says:

    i have been waiting for someone to have a diesel in a light duty truck for a long time a lot of us just want the diesel for light duty use. if toyota is serious about getting in to the truck market they have to do it they built half a truck for several years until current model wake up toyota ford will kick everyone”s hinnee get that truck built now just do it you finally got the truck right now finish it with the diesel drive train heres to wishing

  10. Steve says:

    If Toyota builds a good diesel truck,( and they will based on other company sucesses) they WILL be a mayjor player in the truck market.

    I can’t wait for someone to teach the big three about reliability, service, comfort and duribility.

    I own North American vehicles and have only had one foreign when in college, Wish I stil had that car. Have had nothing but trouble with everything since.

  11. cjw says:

    I agree with Kurtis it will be the land cruiser 4.5 L diesel and the 6sp that it is all ready bolted to in the new body style land cruiser. that you can also get the 4.7 L petrol over there and here we also get the 5.7 L of coarse .

    The horse power and torque numbers are more than fine for a half ton and about the same that gm’s new 4.5L duramax diesel that will be out next year and the same as what ford is looking for the next f150.

  12. juan says:

    I traded my toyota truck for a gmc and I will regret this for the rest of my life.
    noting but problems.on my tollota I only
    change oil and tires 140k

  13. Steve De Felice says:

    Please inform me about any new infomation
    about the toyota tundra diesel!
    thank you.

  14. johnnyboy says:

    I just leased the 08 Tundra and it’s just been great. If Toyota makes a diesel I’ll be one of those people getting it. TOYOTA RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will blow the American truck’s away.

  15. Edmund George says:

    Why couldn’t Toyota use an engine from Caterpillar. They make an 8cyl & a 6cyl that woild work well in the Tundra. Caterpillar is one of the most respected names in the world for diesels. I know half-a-dozen guys with Ford and Chevy & Dodge that would love to see Toyota build a diesel truck.

  16. admin says:

    Edmund – there was a rumor going around that Toyota was working with Cat, but there’s been nothing substantial to indicate that possibility (at least that I’ve been able to find). If you’ve seen something, send me the link. I’d love to see it! 🙂

  17. Scott says:

    Hey I know we are all excited about the power of a diesel but what kind of MPG are we expecting? With diesel about to hit $5 I think that’s kinda important to know.

  18. WALLY says:

    The Tundra Diesel would be the best thing ever to happen to a 1/2 ton pickup, man of us do not want our need the beefy 3/4 ton and up models. A 1/2 diesel engine could be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient as would be the entire truck. I’d guess on the highway 25mpg could be possible given the right match of equipment.

  19. james says:

    i cant wait for the tundra diesel, as soon as toyota brings it out ,my f350 will be going by by.my 97 4runner 4banger has 300,000 on it and it does not burn any oil ,if that is how toyota builds engines sign me up!!!!

  20. sal of sreamwood says:

    i cant wait to see the new toyota diesel in the market i was so impress the way how it looks please give me an information when its gonna be and how much is the price . this is the one i’ve been waiting for !!!

  21. […] to your engine will make it last, gas or diesel. This might be an interesting read for you: Diesel Toyota Tundra Likely in 2009 | Tundra Headquarters . com. Granted, diesel’s have more torque, why do you need torque? __________________ "I guess […]

  22. Steve says:

    Toyota sells a light duty diesel truck in the UK called the Hilux. It is about the size of the Toyota Tacoma but it gets 35mpg. A friend of mine at work brother inlaw lives in Madagascar and owns one. On a full tank of fuel he can get just under 600 mile between fill ups. I know everybody wants to go green, but when I contacted Toyota on why this truck was not available in the USA they told me it was because they are concentrating on hybrid technology instead. Maybee I am missing something here, but 35mpg for a light duty truck is beter than any truck available here now and would use less fuel which is good for the planet and if possible biodisiel is supose to be even cleaner burning than gasoline. What am I missing here?

  23. Steve – I hear ya. The answer that Toyota should have given (but I guess isn’t politically correct) is that the green lobby has ruined the possibility of high-mileage diesels ever gaining a foothold in the USA. Why? NOx and particulate matter emissions standards are absurdly low for diesel engines – so low that the only way they can pass emissions is by having thousands of dollars in expensive emissions control equipment. NOx emissions are over-regulated because they’re easy (and cheap) to control on gas motors. Same goes for particulate matter. If our EPA was willing to allow diesels to pump out slightly more NOx than a gas motor, our country would be rewarded with higher fuel economy almost across the board. What’s better, I ask? Lots of vehicles producing low NOx but burning 1 gallon of gasoline every 16 miles, or lots of vehicles producing almost low NOx but burning 1 gallon of diesel every 30 miles? Seems obvious to me, but it’s never going to make a difference. Diesel is dead in the USA (at least it looks like that to me). NOTE: After saying that they were going to produce a diesel Tundra, Toyota has killed plans to do so for the immediate future: https://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/2008/09/29/toyota-delays-tundra-diesel-light-duty/

  24. Stephen says:

    This step by toyota to have an isuzu diesel engine on its vehicles, is a proof that Isuzu is the worlds leading in diesel technology. This is by no means that Toyota is not good on diesel but in my opinion Isuzu are better. Isuzu 4 Ever!!

  25. becky says:

    Ok, no diesel, but Toyota can still make a 3/4 ton.?.

  26. Becky – Not anytime soon. No plans for any major enhancements to the Tundra for the next 2 or 3 years.

  27. Jay says:

    With Dodge putting the light duty Cummins V8 and V6 on hold. Cummins should drop Dodge and work with Toyota. Cummins worked with the EPA on both engines for 2010 emissions. Think about it Toyota and Cummins together talk about a truck that will last! Dodge had a bad truck with a great Cummins look how far that went. Put the V8 in Tundra and V6 in the Tacoma WOW! Cummins also has other engines that will work over sea’s with out all the emissions.

    • Jay – Good idea – hopefully Cummins and Toyota are already working on it. The rumor is that Cummins is going to move forward with or without Dodge…but who knows what that means.

  28. samir says:

    Toyota has been devoloping diesel engines since the 1960, models like the Hilux,Fj 40 ,Land Cruiser 60,70,80,90,100,200 series.From 2.2 liters to 4.5liters. The 200 series being the LandCruiser in US, are marketed all over the world with diesel engines, Toyota produces a 4.5 v8 twin turbo diesel engine delivering 282hp and 650nm torque.This engine would be more than suitable for the Tundra , as it delivers enough power and meets all current US Fuel Emission laws.

  29. […] news: http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/bl…ikely-in-2009/ I wonder if they take this leap, if they’ll also offer a TD Taco/Hilux. And maybe even a TD FJC. […]

  30. […] But are you going to be seeing me buying a TOYOTA Tundra Diesel? Uhhhh…..NO!! here's the link- Diesel Toyota Tundra Likely in 2009 | Tundra Headquarters __________________ -2001 Chevrolet 2500HD LB7 Duramax 4×4: PPE Standard Xcelerator AFE Stage 2 […]

  31. Jim says:

    It may look good but its power and capability may be really bad. A 4.5 liter. That is nothing compared to a 6.6 duramax. The rims are 22.5″. Those aren’t capable of towing that much weight because they are so big. The small the rims and wheels the more it can carry.

  32. Jim – The HD Tundra concept with the huge rims had an 8.0L diesel, but I doubt anything that big would ever make it into a production HD Tundra. As for the 4.5L, that wouldn’t be going head-to-head with a 6.6L Duramax. Instead, it would be going up against whatever diesel GM offers in their 1500. When this article was published, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all had plans for smaller diesels on the drawing board. Today, none of the manufacturers appear to be interested in bringing out a diesel in a half-ton truck – at least not any time soon.

  33. dave says:

    I have seen an article that the 7 liter hd tundra will have more than 700 foot pounds of torque and also have like 400 horse power. I would know a lot of people who would got their hands on these as everyone knows toyota knows how to design vehicles as they have been in the buisness for more than half a century. That means they’ve got experience and know what they are doing.

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