Toyota 2013 Chicago Auto Show Recap
Tim Esterdahl | Feb 08, 2013 | Comments 7
A few thoughts about Toyota and the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.Toyota Engineers are young and determined to build a great “retail” product. Watching the photo shoots after the reveal (after the “other” journalists left), you could see how young the engineers are. The Ford, GM and Dodge guys all looked old and dare I say, stodgy, to me in Detroit. Chief Engineer Sweers doesn’t look that old, loves trucks (he owns a farm) and spends a lot of time at the proving ground rock crawling in the Tundra. Flat out, he loves his job and building a truck that is “more capable than you think.” – his words.
Market share debate, I got the feeling from the lower level guys, not Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, that they are really happy. In their view, they OWN the 1/2 ton market, have the best truck in the segment and have a great marketshare. If you take away the HD and fleet trucks and just look at 1/2 ton trucks owned by retail customers – there is a lot of truth to that statement.
The Press and previous owners aren’t excited about the new truck. The world is full of the “latest” thing crazies. The press and previous truck owners really wanted a BIG unveil full of new toys. Toyota didn’t. They talk a lot about durability with their trucks. While there is no doubt some spin in that statement, there is probably some truth as well. In their view, they took customer feedback and improved on the truck’s weaknesses.
HD and Diesel capacity issue. For years we have heard that the HD and diesel development was tied directly to EPA standards. While this is still true, the new layer is that Toyota says the plant in San Antonio is at full capacity. If that is true, it would tough to see Toyota spends billions on a new plant to build a 3/4- to 1-ton pickup when that market is dominated by Ford. There would have to be some great advantage to doing that from a business stand point. I just don’t see it.
It is a “Retail” truck. I heard this over and over again. Sweers said flatly, they don’t have a big desire to get into fleet sales nor larger truck sales. They want to focus on the retail customer. When you look at the new truck with a “retail” focus, this makes a lot of sense then with the changes they made.
McCormick is a palace compared to Cobo Center. And Chicago is a much better city to get to the show than Detroit. Just saying that if I had to choose between both shows, Chicago is absolutely the show I would go to. It is no mystery to me why they are the most well attended show. McCormick sparkles and so do the displays there.
All in all, a great reveal for Toyota (from their viewpoint) and a great job by McCormick and the Chicago Auto Show.
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com
This is a copy of a post I made at Tundra Geeks:
I’m disappointed because they seem to have spent the budget on styling, rather than substantially improving the trucks capability. I understand that they did this because they think it will sell more trucks and make them more money. I am not going to argue with Toyota’s marketing decisions. The fact that they are the #1 automobile manufacturer in the world means that they probably know what they are doing when it comes to marketing and selling vehicles, and they probably don’t need any input from me. It seems they have determined that selling these high end theme trucks like the “1794” and the Platinum and Limited is what will make them the most money, and that is where the upgrade budget went. I’m sure the improvements in capability will follow. I hope they address the lack of a true limited slip and a locker, a larger fuel tank, and perhaps a 7 or 8 speed tranny. Some folks are hoping for a diesel, but that would be an expensive option that I would probably not consider. As for the styling, and without seeing it in person, the interior looks nicely refreshed. It seems they are copying the other manufacturers with the exterior styling by going with a more squared off look, as well as aerodynamic considerations in the rear. These styling decisions were made by relying on focus groups, and again Toyota has made these decisions because they think it will make them more money. Bottom line-I hope they spend some money in the next few years improving the truck for guys like me that use their trucks like trucks, instead of developing more theme trucks for one of the Atlanta housewifes to look good in when driving to get her hair done.
I’ll just add that I am sure the exterior will grow on me. Is it just me or do the doors and greenhouse look exactly like the gen 2?
Sweers is not rock crawling in the Tundra, simply because IT DOESN’T HAVE A OEM LOCKER AVAILABLE! :/
Tony what you wrote was great until “that use their trucks like trucks, instead of developing more theme trucks for one of the Atlanta housewifes to look good in when driving to get her hair done” there you lost your cause. Just because I don’t care to play in the mud doesn’t mean I don’t use my truck to tow my boat or camper. I can afford it so I got it in my last 2 trucks. Right now I can get a 2013 CM for $22,500. Trade mine in for $17k is what they state they can give me. I waited for the new Gen III to show up and I’m quite impressed. I know it’s not much to do that but it could’ve been worse. Like mention before quality is what I’m looking for.
Just my opinion, Micky. My truck is a Tundra Grade, but it is 4X4 with the 5.7. I installed my own Stereo with nav, back up camera, etc. I don’t need parking sensors or leather, but a true limited slip would be useful to me. My point is that I would rather they spent the development money on things like that, or maybe a 7 or 8 speed tranny, or a bigger tank instead of the “1794”. A trucks utility is more useful to me, not a fancy grill or a special color.
A fact it would do well to remember is during the economic collapse when auto sales went into the toilet those “theme” trucks sales rose 10 percent.
Toyota knows this and thus that is why the premium truck was built.
Made MSN top news today: