Check out our UPDATED Tundra accessory list – the TOP 10 Toyota Tundra accessories.
So you have the new Toyota Tundra, now what? For quite a few of you, owning this fine machine is enough. After all, why add something to a truck that’s already near perfect?
But the REAL question is why not? Read more…
It is the firm belief of everyone here at TundraHeadquarters that a hybrid version of the Toyota Tundra will be available no later than 2010. We have come to this conclusion after careful study of Toyota’s product announcements and of the Tundra itself.
Specifically, we’ve found the following clues that have led us to this conclusion:
- Masatami Takimoto,a V.P. of power train development at Toyota, stated that current efforts by Toyota’s design teams to reduce costs of the key hybrid components will most likely result in the cost of hybrid powertrains to be equivalent to that of a gasoline powertrain by 2010.
We think this may be a little gamesmanship by Toyota. For years, competing automakers have argued that Toyota is selling its hybrid vehicles at a loss or for very little profit. However, if you look at Toyota’s projected hybrid sales this year (expected to be just shy of 1,000,000 vehicles) it’s clear that Toyota certainly isn’t losing money. If you consider the fact that the Prius currently is being sold with a cash incentive, it becomes obvious that Toyota is making money on ALL of their hybrid powertrains now. The writing between the lines is that all current powertrains could be produced in a hybrid configuration right now at roughly the same cost, if the market would support them. Currently Toyota’s production of hybrids is limited only by demand.
- Officials at Toyota have also been quoted as saying that expensive lithium-ion battery packs are available for installation in a hybrid vehicle at “any time”, and without a substantial cost penalty.
This is the next evolution of hybrid technology — lithium ion battery packs can hold 2 or 3 times the energy of the current nickel-metal-hydride (NMH) battery packs, will last longer, and will weigh less. Most importantly for future Tundra owners, the use of lithium ion battery packs allows economic charging from a much larger engine than the current technology. Currently a V8 is too much engine for a hybrid — a V8 can generate more power than a decent sized NMH battery pack can store. But with new lithium ion packs a large V8 could be used in a hybrid without sacrificing any efficiency. The extra storage capability of a decent sized lithium ion battery pack would prove useful in towing and hauling situations, something that can’t be said about the current NMH packs which would need to be huge to be able to offset fuel consumption for much more than stop and go traffic.
- Toyota and Isuzu are expected to make an announcement about an Isuzu diesel hybrid powertrain in July of this year.
Toyota has all but admitted it will be developing a diesel engine for the Tundra (with Isuzu’s co-operation). The upcoming announcement will most likely be simply the debut of a prototype diesel hybrid powertrain for one of Isuzu’s medium duty trucks. But that technology could EASILY be integrated into a 3/4 ton Tundra (due out in 2009). Even if Toyota doesn’t debut a diesel hybrid Tundra by 2009, the transmission used in these trucks could be adapted to a Tundra.
- On October 26th, 2005, Toyota admitted to studying the feasibility of creating a hybrid Tundra. But the finding was that the value of a hybrid powertrain is reduced for a vehicle engaged in towing and hauling due to the current NMH battery packs inability to store more than a few minutes of power.
Toyota’s admission that they have a lithium ion battery pack ready for hybrid use is an indication that an oversized battery pack could be installed in a Tundra and offer its owner improved fuel economy over a long trip, even if towing or hauling. Remember, lithium ion battery packs can store 2 – 3 times as much energy as the current technology.
Some other facts to consider:
- The Tundra has been designed to haul at least an extra 2000 lbs in just about every configuration available. Toyota could insert a fairly large battery pack into this vehicle without substantially reducing the payload rating or performance.
- The debut of the FT-HS, a 400hp hybrid sports car concept, is proof that Toyota has a transmission capable of handling a very powerful hybrid motor. The kind of powerful hybrid that would be needed in a Tundra.
- Toyota’s oversized brake system lends itself to being replaced by a regenerative braking system.
- There are a lot of indications the Tundra was designed to be as lightweight as possible, even if the expense was greater. The frame isn’t fully boxed, special (and more expensive) coatings were used on all the wiring, aluminum is used in many places on the vehicle where steel (which is cheaper) would have been good enough, etc. Obviously, light weight is key in a hybrid.
- Dodge’s new Hemi will debut in 2008 with a hybrid option. Ford’s new F150 rolls out in 2009, with the expectation being that the segment leader will bring a hybrid option to the table as well. Finally, the GM products are expected to offer an upgrade to the hybrid system currently available to fleet users within the next year or two. Toyota must respond.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, conservative estimates of U.S. gasoline prices show that a gallon of fuel will cost $3.50-$4.50 by 2010. The market demand for a hybrid truck, even if it only improved fuel economy by 25%, would be HUGE. Remember that Toyota said by 2010 all of their current gasoline powertrains could be replaced by hybrid powertrains at no additional cost? That’s Toyota’s way of saying they could bring a hybrid Tundra to market at the same cost as the current Tundra. Put another way, Toyota’s risk of developing a hybrid Tundra is reduced if they don’t have to charge a premium for the technology. After all, if a consumer can buy a hybrid for the same amount of money as a gas engine, most will do so. As long as the hybrid option sells in volume it will be a profitable choice for Toyota.
We think the first hybrid Tundras will be CrewMaxs. They are the most profitable and are also the vehicles most likely to be used as a commute vehicle. Since the value of a hybrid Tundra will be limited for anyone doing constant towing and hauling, you’ll still see the 5.7L non-hybrid as an option. Also, expect to see the smaller single cab Tundra V6 offered in a hybrid. There is no reason that a lot of the current systems can’t be adapted to a 2wd Tundra single cab, and the fuel economy gain would be significant for a lot of fleet users. However, Toyota’s fleet sales will have to skyrocket for this option to appear before the more consumer oriented Tundra CrewMax hybrid.
Bottomline: A hybrid version of the Tundra will debut in 2009 as a 2010 model. It will feature the 4.7L V8 and a hybrid charging system that will give the truck 400hp and limitless torque. We think the fuel savings will vary by user, but expect the fuel economy rating to be about 20mpg city, 25mpg highway.
Our recommendation: Lease your next new Tundra for 2 or 3 years.
TundraHeadquarters.com is not affiliated with Toyota Motor Company.
One of the nicest and least expensive upgrades you can make to your Toyota Tundra is to add a leveling kit (also known as a front-end lift kit). Leveling kits are usually steel or aluminum spacers that are added to the top of the front suspension’s coil assembly. These spacers raise the front end of the truck to make it level with the rear without dramatically changing the vehicle’s suspension, ride, or handling. When installed correctly, a leveling kit will improve the look of your truck without altering the operation and “feel” of your truck.
Leveling kits compensate for the fact that the rear-end of most trucks is about 2″ higher than than front end. This is intentional – the rear end is higher because it’s designed to compensate for natural suspension sag when the vehicle is fully loaded. Since most of us drive our trucks when they aren’t loaded up to max payload, we don’t usually enjoy the benefit to having the rear-end raised up higher than the front.
While adding spacers to the front suspension levels out the truck while empty, one of the main benefits is the additional tire clearance we gain. Read more…
Few things are more frustrating than having a problem with your vehicle. In fact, there’s a good chance you bought a Toyota because you thought that it wouldn’t have any problems. Unfortunately, even a Toyota has the occasional issue. But what about when your Toyota car, truck, or SUV has a problem that isn’t resolved to your satisfaction? Maybe you’ve been to the dealership for the same problem multiple times, maybe you know that the vehicle has a known issue that Toyota isn’t acknowledging, or maybe you’ve just been treated poorly. In any case, here is how you can get what you want.
First tip — don’t call Toyota’s national customer service hotline unless you’ve already tried working the problem out with your dealer (see below). If you call Toyota’s national hotline right away, you’ll get the attention of the dealership and Toyota, but you’ve ruined any leverage you have over the dealer. Toyota dealers are graded on their customer service as much as they are on sales, and by informing Toyota of your dissatisfaction you’ve let the “cat out of the bag”. Now the dealer has less to gain by helping you — the dealer is more willing to help you if they know you’re not going to tattle on them to Toyota.
Second tip — your best hope for a solution is to work with your local dealer. Believe it or not, the dealership is invested in solving your problem because they know it’s the best way to make you a lifetime customer. Dealers spend thousands of dollars in advertising trying to create trust with their customers, but statistics show that the best way to create trust is to solve problems. Good dealerships know that solving customer problems is money well spent. Even if the dealership is the problem, your local dealer is still the best place to get a solution.
However, this doesn’t mean that a dealership will solve every customer service problem free of charge, or even solve them at all. In order for a dealership to justify spending money to solve a customer service problem they have to believe that they’re creating or preserving a customer relationship. In other words, if you want to get your problem solved, you’re going to have to convince the dealership that you’re going to be a good future customer and give them good publicity.
The best way to convince a dealership you’re going to be a good customer in the future is to show them you’re a good customer now. When working with anyone at the dealership, be nice. Let’s admit it — sometimes it feels good to yell at someone. But if you want to get the best customer service you’ll need the people at the dealership to like you. “Kill em’ with kindness” and you will prove you are a customer worth saving. Also, bragging about how many cars you’re going to buy, or that your company allows you to make purchase decisions, etc., doesn’t work. Everyone makes those claims. Instead, talk about how much you like the service manager, your salesperson, etc. These statements will do more to convince the dealer you’re a good customer than any bragging you can do.
Third tip — speaking with the general manager of the dealership is the best thing you can do to help yourself. While there are many managers in a dealership, the GM has the power to solve nearly any problem. The GM can pick up the phone and speak with one of Toyota’s regional executives, authorize an expensive repair, or even decide to warranty a vehicle. Toyota empowers every dealership general manager to act on their behalf — perfect for solving customer service problems. They also tend to have the most experience and maturity in the dealership, making them very easy to work with too.
If you’ve tried everything and the GM at your local dealership can’t help you, you have a couple of choices. You can call another local dealer and try over again with them, or you can contact Toyota Motor Company. If you problem is with your vehicle, you should try a couple of local dealers before you call. On the other hand, if the problem is with a dealership, then it’s time to call Toyota.
If calling, I suggest you try a two-pronged approach and call both your local Toyota regional office and the national help line. You can find the phone numbers below. While the local regional office will often refer you to the national helpline, with a little persistence you can speak with a regional executive about your problem.
To recap, when you have a problem with your Toyota that isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, start by working with your local dealership. The dealer wants to earn your faith and trust, and they will often go above and beyond to do so. When you speak with anyone at the dealership, be nice. You want them on your side. Ask to speak to the GM too — the GM has the power to solve your problem and they also have the full backing of Toyota. Finally, if the GM at your local Toyota dealer can’t solve your problem, work with Toyota’s national hotline and try to talk to someone at the regional office. If you’re persistent and you’re nice, you’ll get the best customer service possible.
NATIONAL HOTLINE: 800-331-4331
- Boston Office (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI) 508-339-5701
- New York (NY, NJ, CT) 973-575-7600
- Central Atlantic (PA, VA, WV, MD, DE) 410-760-1500
- Southeast Region (NC, SC, AL, GA, FL) 954-429-2000
- Cincinnati Region (MI, OH, KY, TN) 513-745-7500
- Chicago Region (MN, WI, IL, IN) 630-907-0150
- Kansas City Region (ND, SD, NE, KS, IA, M0) 816-891-1000
- Gulf States Region (OK, TX, MS, LA, AR) 713-580-3300
- Portland Region (AK, WA, OR, ID, MT) 503-493-4900
- Denver Region (WY, CO, UT, NM, AZ, NV) 303-799-6776
- San Francisco Region (Northern CA) 925-830-8300
- LA Region (Southern CA) 949-727-2700
Some interesting facts about the new Tundra and how it’s built:
To begin with, the Tundra’s style was formally approved in the US, making it the first vehicle that Toyota has ever stylistically approved outside of Japan. Toyota is clearly committed to building an American truck.
Additionally, the new Tundra is almost completely new. There are virtually no carryover parts from the 1st generation Tundra or from the Tacoma.
Most automakers build vehicles in batches — a group of crew cabs are assembled, then a group of two-wheel-drives, etc. This is done to make sure that the correct parts are installed on each vehicle. By building in batches, workers will only have access to the correct part for that type of vehicle i.e. only 2wd shocks available for a batch of 2wds, only tan interior parts for a batch of tan interiors, etc. and won’t be able to put the wrong part on a vehicle. Amazingly, the Tundra IS NOT built in batches — each vehicle is built to order. Toyota gains a lot of efficiency by building each truck to order (batch building is inherently uneven volumes) but the risk of putting the wrong part on a vehicle is much higher.
In order to eliminate the possibility of a worker putting the wrong part on a new Tundra, many parts are pre-sorted and organized by type and then put in a box (basically a shoe box) and sent along with the truck as it travels down the assembly line. Thus, when the truck arrives at a station, the worker pulls the parts they need out of a box, installs them, and then the truck moves to the next station.
Toyota also uses a very aggressive just-in-time inventory system to reduce waste and increase efficiency. For instance, when a new Tundra begins the assembly process, the seats are ordered from the supplier. Within 85 minutes of being ordered, the seats are assembled and delivered to the proper station on the assembly line. Considering the seats can contain upwards of 300 different components (depending upon configuration) this is quite a feat.
Welding and painting the new truck is almost entirely automated — about 400 robots perform 90% of the painting and welding tasks.
Finally, the Tundra is built upside down! The wiring, suspension, and many other frame connected components are assembled while the truck frame is upside down. When it’s time to attach the body, the truck is flipped over.
See 2007 Toyota Tundra: BIG for more information about the just-in-time system used for Tundra assembly and to learn more about the San Antonio campus.