Toyota Dealers Hope HQ Move Sparks Diesel Tundra, Other Improvements

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

North Texas Toyota dealers have an interesting take on the corporate companies relocation to that area. They hope Toyota executives see first-hand all the full-size trucks on the road and this will spur them to commit more resources to the Tundra.

Toyota Dealers Hope HQ Move Sparks Tundra Improvements

When Toyota moves to Texas, David Schoemaker of Toyota of Irving will be ready with a new showroom. He will also be ready to show off Toyota’s truck culture. (The Tacoma is nice, but we hope he shows them a Tundra!)
Photo Credit: David Woo/Staff Photographer Dallas News

A story in the Dallas News says local dealers in that area have been talking with Toyota executives for years about trucks. Yet, they haven’t been successful at getting their message through. The corporate HQ move to Texas may finally change their thinking.

“We are constantly talking to [Toyota execs] about the impact here of trucks,” said Pat Lobb, owner of Pat Lobb Toyota in McKinney and a member of Toyota’s national dealer council. “When they come to Texas and see Tundras and Ford and Chevy trucks everywhere, they will get a firsthand look at what customers buy and how they use their trucks.”

The dealers say having the corporate HQ in California may have skewed the visiting executives view on the full-size truck market. This has some validity to it since the only full-size truck Toyota makes is in North America and many of the Japanese executives simply don’t understand the market. Seeing the numbers on a spreadsheet is a lot different than seeing a parking lot full of full-size trucks.

California is such a different state and not heartland America,” said Rusty Gentry, general manager of Toyota of Plano. “When they see all the different grades of trucks that people here drive — from the guy who just needs a work truck to the white-collar professional in a luxury pickup — that could help our truck.”

Along with greater awareness of the full-size truck market, dealers say they hope the HQ move will help them drive home the “American” brand of the Tundra.

This should be good news for dealers because Toyota has been trying for years to show that it is effectively an American brand,” said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst at “And this move to Texas will be a pretty big step in that direction.”

Side Effects of the Move

In other news, dealers are also expecting an increase of vehicles sales and service orders from the approximately 4,000 Toyota employees moving or will be hired. Typically, automakers require their employees to own their products.

And the increased presence of Toyota executives means dealers will need to pay closer attention to the state of their business. This is due to impromptu executive visits becoming more common.

“It will be another set of eyes on you,” said Dane Minor, general manager of Freeman Toyota in Hurst. “From just an accountability perspective, everyone will need to be on their game.”

Several dealers are already responding with plans for expansions or new buildings.

A Better Diesel Tundra?

While many of our readers have been demanding improvements for the Tundra, it seems their voices have been echoed by Toyota dealers.

“Pat [Lobb] and I serve on numerous Toyota dealer councils, and one thing we always say is we need more trucks,” said Minor, general manager of Freeman Toyota. “I’m sure they’re tired of hearing it. They need to see it, and they can see the prevalence of pickups down here.”

They have also been lamenting the fact Toyota doesn’t offer a diesel. The diesel-powered, heavy-duty truck is a big part of the Texas landscape.

“When someone is looking for that kind of vehicle, we don’t get any consideration,” said Gentry of Toyota of Plano, whose dealership is building a new facility at State Highway 121 and Spring Creek Parkway, “practically next door” to Toyota’s future headquarters.

The other point of offering a heavy-duty is credibility in the full-size truck market.

“Consumers see those trucks and say if they can build a truck like that, they must build a great [conventional] pickup,” noted Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights at

Ultimately, dealers hope they can open the eyes of the executives to the truck’s potential and how much people really use them.

“Toyota really needs to appreciate pickup trucks beyond just their functionality,” said Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book. “Texas will help them find their way.”

One can hope.

Related Post:
UPDATE : Toyota Plans to Move U.S. Headquarters

Filed Under: Tundra News


RSSComments (18)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Randy says:

    Amen to all that! Yes to what Tim said.

    If I still had the requirement for towing above 8,000 lbs. around 50% of the time or more, then yes a diesel would be for me. In Texas that usually means long distance and often at higher speeds.

    Currently my towing requirements are less that 5% with loads a lot less than 8,000 and at much slower speeds and shorter distance. So a diesel is not for me. The current 2/3 ton Tundra works just fine for me. LOL

    Now if there is magic coming the Lexus V8 Atkinson/Otto (or some other power plant) for Tundra then I am all in. If it can be made to mimic the power/torque of the current 5.7 with the same reliability and improved MPG….I will buy it; If my wife will let me?

  2. LJC says:

    I’m trying to figure out why some Toyota executives need to be convinced there’s more of a market for Toyota trucks AFTER billions of dollars was spent on buiding a manufacturing plant for the Tundra and Toyota.

    Also, add to that the F150 outsells the Camry.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      That’s the point – the billions that have already been spent. Toyota has spent a lot of money to acquire a small market share. Toyota executives need to be convinced it is return on investment is there if they spend more money.

      Also, the Tundra isn’t part of Toyota’s car culture. The executives would rather spend money on the Corolla or Camry rather than investing money on a truck.

      Lastly, I don’t think they care that the F-150 is outselling the Camry.


  3. art64 says:

    Fuel cell vehicle is Toyota’s top priority now. They know the world is watching.

    • LJC says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the infrastructure to support this technology is not there yet. For example, fueling stations and techs to repair and service the vehicles.

    • Larry says:

      Why would fuel cell be anything more then a research project? If they had one ready to sell where would I get the fuel for the thing?

      If you know of some news fill us in. It would be great stuff but seems a long way off.

  4. Randy says:

    Remember the Tacoma and be built at several locations around the world and still supply the USA requirements. Importing does add to the cost if it is outside of USA and/or North America.

    AFAIK, the Tundra can only be built at the San Antonio plant. When you look at it that way, San Antonio is only building “half” the number of Tundra’s it could.

    This means if the Tacoma goes to another plant, and San Antonio becomes the exclusive plant for the Tundra the profit per unit goes up for both truck models.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      You are forgetting the chicken tax. If Toyota builds the Tacoma and imports it, it would automatically get a 25 percent levy. This would price the Tacoma out of the market.

      You are correct and are concurring with what I have been saying for a while. The Tundra’s biggest problem really isn’t the truck, it is the Tacoma. Sharing the production facility hurts its growth.


  5. Jason Carpp says:

    Why not offer a diesel powered Toyota Tundra? Is diesel for everyone? No, not really. But there are people who need, and want a diesel powered truck, but don’t want to have to buy a Chevy/GMC, Ford or a Dodge just to get it. So I think offering a diesel powered Tundra would do wonders for business. And while Toyota’s at it, how about offering the Tacoma with its own diesel engine?

  6. Jason Carpp says:

    If Toyota builds the Tacoma here, in the USA, for the North American market, then Toyota could avoid this “chicken tax”, wouldn’t they?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Yes that would. They currently build the Tacoma in Texas. The discussion/problem has to do with moving the production or paying the chicken tax. If they moved the production, they would need to put out the capital to build a new facility (multi-million/billion). They don’t currently have any other plants that would facilitate producing the truck in the U.S.


      • Jason Carpp says:

        So why not do it? Toyota can afford the “chicken tax”, can’t they? They’ve been in North America long enough to know what America wants and doesn’t want. I would think Toyota would be able to put out the capital needed to build such a facility, either in the USA or even Canada.

  7. nate says:

    The no-diesel Toyota in USA thing is crazy. In fact, it’s so crazy that there has to be more to the story. The medium-duty diesel Toyota truck is one of the most common vehicles in THE WORLD. It’s called the Hilux, and is exceptionally common in Mexico, Central America, New Zealand/Australia, UK & Europe. Toyota knows this truck can sell. That’s not the mystery here…

    • Jason Carpp says:

      It’s worse than crazy, it’s inexcusable. As customers, we should be allowed to decide what engines our cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs should be available with. Diesel may not suit everyone’s needs, but so what? Does that mean that such engine should not be available as an option for those who need it?

  8. Jason says:

    Why not? Whatever the need for turbo diesel, one should be allowed that option. One should never, under any circumstances, be denied the option of a diesel engine, if he or she needs it.

  9. Jason Carpp says:

    I was never a big fan of the Tundra. I like the idea of having a mid-sized pickup truck with the Toyota name, but I’ve never found the front end of the truck very attractive. You can put all the bling, and all the chrome on the grille, and it still would look ugly. I preferred its predecessor, the T-100 pickup truck. I thought it at least looked attractive.

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×