Toyota Officially Delays Tundra Diesel Light Duty

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Update: Read the complete story of the diesel Tundra

Despite our complete disbelief and our challenge of the original report, Toyota exec Don Esmond (a senior VP) was officially quoted as saying “We’ve pushed back the [Tundra diesel] until we can figure out where the market is going.” Kudos to Mike Levine for confirming his earlier report on the record.

Has Toyota made a smart move, or is this decision an error in judgment?

  1. Ford, GM, and Dodge have all announced plans to offer 150(0)’s with diesel engines in the next 18-24 months. Based on this announcement Toyota will be the only serious half-ton truck manufacturer without a diesel. Toyota has made great strides to be considered “one of the big-boys” in the truck business, yet this announcement surrenders truck leadership to the domestics and drains momentum.
  2. Toyota has already broadcast their intention to delay the HD Tundra for a few years. This move seemed wise at the time – especially with the Tundra LD diesel on the way – but now it looks as if Toyota is surrendering the HD segment to the domestics as well.
  3. As we discussed here a few months ago, the cost-benefit analysis of a light-duty diesel Tundra depends greatly on the price premium for the diesel engine. Toyota probably can’t sell too many Tundra’s with diesel engines unless they can get the diesel engine price increase to less than $2000. Considering the complexity of a modern diesel, that price range might not have been feasible. Yet, somehow, the domestic truck manufacturers have yet to back off their plans to produce half-ton diesel trucks. Is Toyota unable to match the diesel engine pricing of GM, Ford, and Dodge?
  4. The analysis from says that Toyota didn’t think they could sell enough diesel Tundra trucks to make a profit, with fuel prices being cited as part of the reason for lower sales. Yet Ford and Dodge both have a mountain of evidence to indicate that new truck sales have likely hit bottom. This would seem to agree with common sense – after all, trucks are still necessary equipment for a lot of Americans. If truck sales are likely to increase, why freeze development?

Toyota’s decision to pause the release of the 4.5L Tundra diesel was likely based on nothing more than accounting. It doesn’t make sense from a product development standpoint, and when Ford, GM, and Dodge enjoy strong sales of the 150(0) diesel trucks, Toyota will have to look back on this decision and wonder why they allowed accountants to build vehicles.

At least we can expect an updated Tundra next year…

Filed Under: Auto NewsDiesel Tundra

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  1. DAVID BRESLIN says:


    • Larry says:

      Tundra has a lower production run then Ford or Ram.

      Does the world need another 800 foot pound monster engine. I doubt it. Hell, you need to lift the entire cab off an F250 for major engine work. Talk about stupid.

      I would like a 3.0 diesel but,, not if I have to have it with UREA injection and a particulate burner in the exhaust which burns diesel to oxidize soot.

      Think about it you spend 4000 more to buy a small diesel (or 8000 for a 7.0) then you need to spend another 5000 to fix the particulate oxidizing filter and it’s control systems one day.

      Small diesel in the US has been killed by our government. That is not the fault of GM, Ford, Ram or Toyota. Remember this when you get to vote next time.

      But, the numbers just will not add up.

  2. Nestor Agramonte says:

    BIG BIG BIG mistake. Toyota needs to be the first to the market with a Half Ton Diesel truck!!! It would be a great truck for hauling and have great fuel efficiancy.
    COME ON Toyota…Set a knew trend in the light duty truck segment.
    Make them and I will buy three of them…one for me (4×4 Limited Crew Cab) and two for my company (4×4 SR5 work trucks).
    Lets make it a 2011 model.

  3. Jason says:

    David and Nestor – Absolutely agree. I think a half-ton diesel will be a strong seller…and I think Mahindra will prove it with their little diesel truck coming out later this year.



  5. Ryan says:

    Just bought a tundra the other day and love it. I would pay good money for a diesel. Toyota has passed my expectations, now please build a diesel. I’ve been waiting for the day someone offers a fuel efficient 1/2 ton diesel. I know my buddies and I would sell our wives for a chance at one!

  6. DAVID BRESLIN says:

    Absolutely stupid!

  7. Jason says:

    I’m hopeful, but not optimistic about the chances of a Toyota diesel truck.

  8. Alan says:

    This truck will be out next year 2012. My friends dad works at a toyota dealer and he told me they ordered 37 trucks. AWSOME

  9. R.A.P says:


  10. Joshua kalin says:

    I want a diesel truck. Toyota you guys would do great buy making one just like everyone has a cummins. I want a toyota and i defently dont want a powersrtoke haha powerjoke hah

  11. Robert says:

    Toyota is definately making a big mistake. I know soo many Toyota
    Fans that would kill to have a Toyota diesel and if they wait too long
    Someone is going to beat them to the 1/2 ton diesel. Now I’m going
    To a diesel tech school and I’m gettin sick of cummins and powerjokes
    And face it duramax’s are just watt too expensive. I believe toyota has
    The money and technology to provide us with a powerful yet fuel efficient
    Half ton. Come on Toyota people will buy your truck and I’m first in line!!!

  12. Brandon Baldwin says:

    It is a huge marketing and production mistake not build a Diesel Tundra. I just traded in my 2010 Tundra for a Ford F-250 6.4L diesel. I loved everything about my Tundra except for the fact that it wasn’t a diesel. The engine is available overseas and it will fit perfectly in the Tundra just like the concept Tundra. If its emissions you’re worried about, put all the required emissions equipment in it and let the owners modify them to get rid of all that stuff dependent upon their state emissions. This is already what people are doing to current diesel trucks. If Toyota came out with a 3/4 ton Diesel Tundra, I would go to the dealership today and trade my truck in for one. I have also owned two 4Runners, one in which I just bought. It’s a 2012 4runner 4×4 SR5. Toyota produces quality vehicles which is why I have already owned three. I believe there will be no difference in quality if there were to be a Diesel Tundra being produced.

  13. Larry says:

    None of this diesel talk makes any sense. A diesel is a slow RPM high torque system. It needs 6 speed or more manual transmissions to keep the RPM where it needs to be.

    If people can’t put the system in “D” and drive while sleeping it won’t fly. Toyota already makes killer small diesels all over the world. They just won’t fit in our market. As for the other manufactures they are falling all over themselves to and 50 more foot lb of torque each mode.

    What we need is a 27 MPG 3.0L diesel good for 250,000 miles which is available all over the world but here.

    Sadly in the USA trucks are now fire breathing monsters with 500 hp, 800 foot lb of torque with leather seats which do nothing more the haul the 9 iron to the country club. Real work trucks are few in numbers.

    I will buy the first small diesel truck I can find but I doubt I will live that long.

  14. Steve Nunes says:

    I drive an ’05 tundra, 4.0L, V6, 6spd manual trans, 2wd, regular cab with the long bed… its a work truck with almost 200,000 miles on it, and more power than it knows what to do with. I would buy another in a heartbeat if I could still get a manual transmission!! The *ONLY* thing that would make it better is a 6cyl turbo diesel!! I would order one right now!!

    I don’t want or need a cowboy Cadillac for a work truck. When I bought my Tundra, I had to go out of state to find one, the dealers couldn’t keep the 6cyl models on the lot.. .

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Unfortunately, a true manual is nearly extinct. I have a auto-manual in my truck and as when I drive it, I can see why. I can treat it like a manual when I need to and drive it like an automatic other times. The best of both worlds actually.


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