Is Toyota Already Selling The H.D. Tundra?
Toyota Tundra fans have been waiting on pins and needles for an “H.D. Tundra”, or heavy-duty Tundra, ever since Toyota announced they were working on a 3/4 ton Tundra back in 2005. Originally promised to follow soon after the light-duty Tundra (the current model), our sources are now saying that Toyota won’t be introducing an HD Tundra anytime soon…if at all.
That’s right – it’s far from certain that Toyota will ever produce a 3/4 or 1 ton Tundra. As of July 2008, we felt the HD Tundra was at least five years away. Today, we’re wondering if Toyota is ever going to produce a 3/4 or 1 ton Tundra. Perhaps the market for H.D. trucks is going to shrink so much that Toyota’s current light-duty truck is “heavy duty enough.”
In other words, what if Toyota is already producing the H.D. Tundra?
Here’s what we’re wondering:
- Ford has reported that the newly re-designed 2009 F150 poached about 10% of Super Duty customers in 2008 (Diesel World Magazine April 2009). While the new F150 is a great truck, it’s definitely under-powered. If the new F150 had more power, would more Super Duty buyers switch? More to the point, can Toyota attract Super Duty owners to downgrade with a beefed up light-duty Tundra?
- Would a light-duty diesel engine encourage heavy-duty truck buyers to downgrade? Diesel engines are great for pulling big loads because they generate so much torque, and even a light-duty diesel would be a better motor for pulling a trailer than the current crop of powerful gas engines.
- Will new federal fuel economy regulations make it difficult for manufacturers to sell heavy duty trucks? We’re still waiting for specifics, but it’s likely that the 3/4 and 1 ton truck segment would shrink dramatically if fuel economy regulations make them dramatically more expensive to produce.
- Every auto manufacturer is planning to shrink their model line-up because making vehicles smaller is the easiest way to improve fuel economy. The current model Tundra is pretty big – is it big enough to work as a 3/4 or 1 ton truck? Keep in mind the Tundra hauls and tows as much as a brand new 3/4 ton truck did as little as 10 years ago.
- Smaller engines are coming in the F150 (a new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost may replace the 4.6L V8), and GM is said to be looking at a similar setup in the Silverado/Sierra. If the new “small” truck engine is a V6, doesn’t that make the 5.7L Tundra a “big” engine? In other words, if all truck engines shrink, could a powerful engine like the 5.7L be considered “big”?
Here’s the big question: The diesel Tundra is still a strong possibility for the immediate future, but could it be positioned as a light heavy-duty truck? In other words, could Toyota make an H.D. Tundra on the current platform using the 5.7L and the 4.5L diesel engines? Toyota could beef up the current truck’s frame and payload ratings and position the H.D. Tundra as a smart alternative to the big hulking Super Duty – diesel power, great towing and hauling ability, but a lower cost and better fuel economy than big trucks from Ford, Dodge, and G.M.
By making an H.D. Tundra that is nothing more than a slightly beefed-up 1/2 ton Tundra, Toyota would save some money in terms of R&D. The marketplace seems to be embracing smaller trucks (see F150 poaching Super Duty buyers), so it’s possible that consumers would really appreciate a “light” heavy duty Tundra.
Thoughts? Would you be interested in a beefed-up half ton Tundra that hauled and towed a little bit more than the current half-ton but that offered similar mileage and pricing? Do you think it’s a good idea?
Filed Under: Tundra News