Toyota Tundra Launch Worse Than Expected

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Despite having the newest design, the most powerful engine, and being built by industry stalwart Toyota, the new Tundra vehicle launch has not lived up to expectations. While nearly every new Toyota product in the last five years has sold at a ridiculously fast clip when first launched, the new Tundra appears to be struggling, with nearly all dealers having multiple Tundras in stock.

In an unprecedented move, Toyota is offering both special financing and rebates on a new vehicle to boost sales. Toyota just announced it is providing dealers $1000 in bonus cash towards the value of any truck traded-in on the new Tundra. This brings the total available incentives on the new Tundra to $3000, depending upon model. Additionally, Toyota is offering the 3.9% interest rates to spark sales. What does this say about the success of the new Tundra?

Clearly, part of the problem is that Toyota has yet to release a significant quantity of the Crew Max version of the Tundra. This is a much anticipated model, and there will definitely be a boost in the sales rate when this truck becomes widely available. Another issue is that Toyota is currently releasing a large number of what would be considered “fleet” Tundra’s to it’s dealers. These trucks, while excellent, are considerably more than there domestic counterparts. In some cases the price difference is staggering — the Toyota can be as much as $5000 more than a GM or Ford. Understandably, the fleet version of these trucks has been selling very slowly. But too many overpriced fleet trucks isn’t the only reason the Tundra launch isn’t going so well.

Toyota’s ambitious sales goal of 200k units for 2007 is forcing them to acknowledge that some large discounts and rebates may be needed to reach this goal. Keep in mind that the best-ever sales volume for the previous model Tundra was 126,529 units in 2005 (2006 was just a couple thousand less) — meaning that the new Tundra must sell almost 60% better than ever before to meet Toyota’s volume goal.

What happened to Toyota concentrating on making a quality product and leaving the sales goals to someone else? As a consumer, sales volume has little to do with my decision to buy a truck (if it did, Ford would get my business after selling over 900k trucks in 2006). In fact, high sales volumes typically means lower resale value — more vehicles to choose from means lower demand, and thus lower prices. Rebates also mean lower resale value – for instance, I know that the resale value of a new 2007 Tundra dropped a $1000 when Toyota announced their most recent incentive.

Toyota’s Tundra volume goal probably has a lot to do with keeping manufacturing costs down and gaining market share, and while I realize there is probably a lot going on that I don’t know about or understand, I think that Toyota is behaving stupidly. By chasing such a large volume goal, they may have to offer more discounts and rebates. After all, how are they going to capture any fleet sales if the base model Tundra is thousands of dollars more than a Ford or GM product? As a Tundra customer, more discounts and rebates are a bad thing…Tundra owners want the new truck to be expensive. That way, they’re used Tundras will be worth more.

If you add up the facts, it’s clear that the new Tundra isn’t selling as well as hoped. Combine the news about new rebates and incentives with the quite announcement Toyota made a few months ago about delaying the production of the three-quarter ton Tundra (something that they really need to capture market share), and the writing is on the wall.

Of course, this could all change once the Crew Max is available in large numbers. Perhaps everyone is waiting to see the Crew Max before buying will finally purchase a new Tundra? I don’t think so, but only time will tell.

Toyota Tundra Sales Figures (amalgamated from Jan. 2007 press release and another website).

  • 2000MY: 100,445 units
  • 2001MY: 108,863 units
  • 2002MY: 99,333 units
  • 2003MY: 101,316 units
  • 2004MY: 112,484 units
  • 2005MY: 126,529 units
  • 2006MY: 124,508 units
  • 2007MY: 200,000 units ?!

Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. Ken Hunter says:

    I recently received my 2007 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab 4X4 after ordering in March 2007. Dealer advised that the demand for the new Toyota Pickup is outstanding. I can believe this is true as I am totally impressed with this truck. I have found the handling, ride and performance is everything that I had hoped for and more.
    Test drive this truck before you purchase any other.

  2. Jerry Neuendorf says:

    I have owned 5 Cheve trucks and the Tundra seems to be the best truck I have ever had. The handling, ride, performance, is awesome, not to mention 17.8 and 18.4 mileage traveling. I also got 14.8 pulling a pretty heavy boat. It’s styling has Cheve looking like a ol’ work truck. I love the truck.

  3. Jerry Neuendorf says:

    5000 miles on my 2007 Tundra double cab now and I haven’t had any vibrations. It’s the best the truck I’ve ever had. I like the gauges and have no difficulty seeing them in the daylight. What a tow vehicle. Couldn’t be happier.

  4. Jim Osekowsky says:

    I have a 2000 Tundra and it fits me and my wallet quite well. The new Tundra has me feeling like I am sitting in my living room, key word being ROOM. Very simply, it is too big! Americas economy is facing increasingly more challenging ( read that as expensive ) times. The dollar is dropping and inflation is warming up, hence I am surprised that Toyota didn’t emphasize efficiency over the same old, same old.

  5. jim a says:

    Hopefully he didn’t get paid for this article. First Toyota has never offered customer cash and the financing rates. You choose one or the other, not both. Second, maybe the dealers have a lot of the Tundras on their lot because Toyota anticipated the demand and made a lot of them.
    Didn’t finish reading his article as I figured it was just as inaccurate throughout.

  6. admin says:

    Jim – are you seriously going to argue that Toyota NEVER offered special interest rates and rebates??

    As of right now, you can purchase a Tundra with either at least a $2000 rebate or get 0% financing for 48 months. This is less than they offered in the month of July ($3000 and 1.9% to my recollection).

    This is extremely uncharacteristic of Toyota. Most Toyota products are offered with very small rebates or minor rate concessions, if any at all. Especially when they’re brand new.

    However, now that a few months have passed, it’s clear that the Tundra’s slow launch has been made up for by the sales of the CrewMax, as we have predicted Toyota will meet it’s sales goals.

    Nonetheless, it has to be acknowledged that Toyota’s strategy of offering big discounts to move a new model isn’t sustainable.

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