Toyota Tundra Diesel Near Development

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We’ve heard a lot of rumors about Toyota offering a diesel engine in the new Tundra, but we’ve just read of official acknowledgment that a Diesel Tundra is near development.

“In terms of (diesel) introduction into the U.S., the Tundra is the best (vehicle) to do that…The question is when is the best time to do that? That is determined by the customer…It’s something we’re looking at, but we have to see if we can price a diesel and still make it affordable.”

Those are the words of Toyota Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto, and the following is clear:

1. The Tundra will have the first Toyota diesel to debut in the US market.

Toyota has been making noise about developing diesels with Hino for use in the European and Asian markets. Considering Hino’s commercial success with large diesels in Asia, it’s reasonable to assume that Hino also has the expertise to assist Toyota in producing a diesel engine for the US market that can compete with Isuzu’s Duramax, the Cummins, and the Powerstroke. Okamoto’s words confirm Toyota would like to bring out a diesel Tundra, and their previous statements about bringing diesels to the US mean they’d like to develop a diesel Tundra soon.

2. Toyota has “put a pencil” to the Diesel Tundra

Clearly, Okamoto’s words indicate that Toyota has determined integrating a diesel into the Tundra would result in an expensive truck. However, his words also indicate that the ultimate cost has as much to do with consumer demand as anything else. That means that Toyota has determined the sales volume the Tundra needs to achieve in order to make the diesel’s development costs affordable. In other words, Toyota knows how many Tundra’s they need to sell in order to bring the Tundra Diesel online. The magic sales number, whatever it is, has got to be less than 400k units. That’s the most Toyota can produce out of San Antonio and Indiana combined.

3. Cost-cutting and a Diesel engine are both needed to fill-out the Tundra’s line-up

The current Tundra is too expensive — $3k to $4k more than competing vehicles. In response, Toyota has offered $3k worth of incentives in order to help reach their sales goal of 200k units. But if Toyota reduces the cost of their trucks in 2008 (and they will be reducing content, we’ve shown that) then their overall profitability and sales volume will increase because they will be more competitive. The question is by how much? If Tundra sales grow by 25% in 2008, would that be enough to justify diesel development? We think so. The Tundra diesel will need 2 or 3 years to develop. If Toyota commits to developing the engine at the end of next year, that means the diesel debuts in 2010 or 2011. At that time, based on a 25% sales growth next year and 10% each year after, Toyota will be selling 300k to 325k Tundras. They can bring out a diesel and have the capacity to sell 75k units. For most automakers, 75k units is more than enough to recover all the development costs of a niche model.

Toyota needs a Diesel Tundra if they’re going to compete with Ford, GM, and Dodge. We all know how many more buyers they would attract if they offered a diesel option.

This is exciting news for anyone who’s interested in a diesel Tundra — they should be coming out in 3 or 4 years.

Filed Under: Diesel TundraTundra News


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  1. […] Re: diesel news I’m sure you have all seen this?

  2. nazar says:

    we need new tundr diselse for every day use thenk you

  3. […] Re: Diesel More speculation, but you check this out.

  4. KFO says:

    Bring it on, I want to be the first in Ohio to own one

  5. 20chevrolet07 says:

    i was wondering what kind of diesel motor you was gonna pout in these. i heard cat motors then i heard that duramax was ending and you was gonna pick up the izuzu duramax motor.

  6. admin says:

    20chevrolet07 – that’s the million dollar question right now. There’s a 4.5L 263 hp D-4D V8 Diesel in the Aussie Landcruiser that seems likely, but there’s some issues with using a motor from a foreign market without heavy modification.

  7. brad says:

    if they come out with truck they will need way more hp #’s and a lot of tq. i have been a diesel owner for a couple of years and have found most diesel owners to be very proud people. to get me to even think about a toy diesel it would have to offer something like this;

    400 hp
    750 lb ft tq
    18 mpg pulling max weight in kansas (flat land)
    allison 1000 trans or better (allison is the best as of now)

    with diesel prices being so high and the extra cost of the diesel truck to begin with most people will want to work this truck.and if your one that dont work this truck buy the gasser and save the diesel for the people that use the diesel for work.

  8. Stephen K says:

    I sure hope this engine can easily go green. I have ran a toyota hiace (Full size van available in Europe and Africa) on veggie oil and it was the best driving expiriece of my life. I have since been hoping that toyota would bring a diesel vehicle for the north american market and a Truck is a great start for them. 300 HP and 600 lb.-ft torque is not bad because toyota seems to compeate more on reliabily and efficiency than it does power. The Hino straight six motor used in Toyota coaster buses has proved to be the most efficient and reliable motor compared to other foreign competitors. (Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan)

  9. hunter says:

    The crewmax already has great rear seat legroom and a bed that is only 6 inches shorter than a dodge megacab. Meanwhile, the crewmax is only 239 inches long while the megacab is 248 inches long. a standard garage can handle a crewmax while a megacab is almost always too long. In Florida, that means leaving your 40K+ vehicle out in the sun and in hurricanes.
    I test drove a crewmax 5.7 4×4 and it was a poor towing vehicle and had a noisy cab but that was the first model and toyota has learned alot.
    the only competition will be the F150 diesel with the new larger cab.
    Whichever of these gets to the market first will enjoy the benefit of no competition + brand loyalists + converts who see it in action on the road.
    Most half ton truck buyers use their trucks for work and family so the Tundra Crewmax already has 75% of the bases covered. There’s no demand or need for a 1 ton toyota. If toyota sneaks in with a real life v6 diesel that can do 400-500 pounds at or under 2k rpm’s, it will be the dream truck of every small businessperson who wants the diesel towing and longevity but not the hulking dimensions. 2009 will be one of the most exciting transition years in automotive history since the days of Henry Ford. Will Ford usher in that new era or will they drag themselves to market in 2010 when they will have to compete against Toyota, Dodge, GMC, Chevy and Nissan who are all working on 1/2 ton diesels ? We will all have to wait and see. I need a new truck but I’m not buying till these come out. ALOT of us are waiting but we’re tired of waiting and we need new trucks so whoever gets there first will have an enormous advantage over the wait and see companies.

  10. icerunner says:

    I own a 1999 4 runner (paid off) and have had 150,000 trouble free miles. It my work truck that I drive about 30K a year. The truck has been so reliable that I feel guilty every time I look ant the new tundra

  11. Pati says:

    I am just a house wife and would like to know why Toyota doesn’t introduce diesel vehicles into the American market, other than the Tundra?

  12. hunter says:

    volkswagon makes very attactive diesel cars.
    give them a look and dont worry yourself with toyota.
    the half ton truck diesels are a major marketting move.
    On the other hand, there is no reason why a mom cant benefit from having a crewmax pickup. the backseat room needs to be experienced. You might just say goodbye to the car idea.

  13. admin says:

    Pati – please don’t say “just a housewife” – I once read the value of the work performed by a typical American housewife is something like $90k! Your contribution is immense. On to your question: The U.S. emission laws make it difficult for diesel engines to meet emissions standards without expensive and complicated emissions equipment. There’s also a lot of uncertainty surrounding American consumers accepting diesel (a lot of people’s experience with diesel engines is less than positive). Thus, most manufacturers don’t offer a diesel engine yet. Hunter’s comment about VW is misleading…only the VW Touareg (an SUV) is available as a diesel. No other VW products offer diesel in 2008. However, as emissions technology improves, more diesels are to be expected. There will be lots of choices by 2012, and not just from Toyota. The Tundra will be the first diesel simply because Toyota anticipates that will bring the biggest sales increase. Once it’s clear that diesel will be accepted by your “average” consumer, many manufacturers will offer the option.

  14. dana says:

    what about the tacoma? theres a lot of us that want better mpg, and the use of bio fuels.strait veggy oil, screw the oil co.reg gas just hit a record high

  15. Ron Morrison says:

    I would love to see me in a 5.7 liter Tundra long bed extended cab with the six speed tranny. Unfortunatly with 4 to 5 dollar gas and higher diesel on the way, I don’t know if it makes sense to run down the road getting 17 mile to gallon empty and 10 to 12 loaded. Here in cattle country most of the trucks run empty most to the time anyway. Ignore the testosterone urge and give me a diesel with a heavy duty transmission that will get me 23-25 mpg empty and 17-18 mpg loaded. Turbo charged or supercharged?(simpler with similiar power usage). Max. rpm under 3000 so I know it will run 300k miles or better. I might risk the divorce to buy that truck. If you must 1 up the Detroit big 3, how about 2 diesels.

  16. Peter says:

    I wish Toyota would make a diesel model aimed primarily at better mileage instead of huge horsepower and load capability. Most people use trucks for commuting. I use mine for electrical contracting. Like most people, I do not need lots of horsepower. I want, and our planet needs, high miles per gallon. I think the highest volume of sales would be for light use and better mileage.

  17. admin says:

    Peter – Your comments are spot on with our own assessment. The market for big and powerful diesel engines is solid, but it’s shrinking. The market for a medium sized and ultra efficient diesel can only grow.
    Ron – Like you said, a 23-25mpg diesel truck would be awesome.

  18. Cristian Moreno says:

    Tundra Diesel would be success for sure. In South America we love big trucks and diesel trucks, they would sell wonderful. Mitsubishi and Nissan sell thousands of diesel pick ups in our markets and nobody wants big gas engines since diesel is 30-40% cheaper than gas. With that difference you buy a new car after a year.

  19. Steve says:

    I would buy a diesel Toyota in a heartbeat.

    PLEASE GIVE ME ONE THAT GETS 22mpg! It doesnt need 300hp and 650lbs of torque! All it needs is 200hp and 400tq AND 22mpg.

    At least give the consumers the option of a “base diesel engine” with great fuel milage, and an option of a “HP diesel engine” that gets worse milage— See which one flys out of the parking lot…

  20. admin says:

    Steve – that’s a good idea. I suspect we’ll see a good compromise – good power AND decent mileage. At least lets hope so.

  21. joe consumer says:

    i see alot of gossip about these huge diesel engines and gigantic torque specs.
    toyota has a gaping hole right in front of them in the middle of the field between half ton and one ton trucks. if they are looking at the competition and the offerings of their competitors versus what the truck buying public really need, they will run that ball right up the middle with a half ton truck that gets 400- 500 pounds of torque at or under 2000 rpms and can haul the crew or family in comfort. There are thousands of firefighters, cops, plumbers, electricians, contractors, small business people, lawn services, auto detailers, construction workers, realtors, surveyors, family trip takers and weekend warriors towing trailers who need those specs in a truck that comes home to a space in the garage. I love my F250 for it’s pulling power BUT it rides like a covered wagon and it is a PITA to park. Toyota Tundra Diesel is going to take about 6 months of street exposure to catch on and then Toyota better hire some extra help because that thing is going to sell.

  22. Steve says:

    Boy I wish I could afford to drive a diesel. My powerstroke sits in my garage and I use my Camry for a commuter. Until diesel comes down I’ll probably keep driving my gas rig.

  23. Matt says:

    I am a traveling sales rep renting construction equipment. I drive 30k miles a year, towing a few times a week, nothing more than a small compressor or generator. My current truck averages 14 mpg and twice a week $75 fill ups. If Toyota could get me 400-500 lb. foot and 20+ mpg I would be in heaven. I would say 75%+ of the 1/2 ton trucks sold today would take the diesel option if it was that efficient. Those who drive duallys and pull horse trailers or move heavy equipment need more power and should have big motors available to them. But IMO they are a small percentage of pick up truck owners.

  24. […] AUTOSHOW-Toyota to launch diesel Tundra, Sequoia in U.S. | Markets | Markets News | Reuters Toyota Tundra Diesel Near Development | No word on the specs […]

  25. thisisme says:

    Lets put it together…. Toyota enters NASCAR a very american made dominant patriot pride sport. But what what is one of the cars that switched to toyota?? The CAT car, so lets see. Toyota enters an american strong sport and takes an american made product as a sponsor team, oh yea and they also build diesel engines. I wonder what engine toyota will go with???

  26. Thisisme – Good point. Unfortunately, rumors are rampant. Caterpillar and Isuzu have both been discussed, along with Hino and re-purposing a diesel Toyota uses in Australia.

  27. Speedy Gonzalez says:

    Toyota should team up with cat and make a diesel that gets 28-35 mpg
    450 hp and 800ft pounds of torque.that would be my dream truck
    it would give the big three a run fvor there money exelent pulling power good fuel economy. that would be a hybrid diesel

  28. c12secure says:

    I don not believe that toyota will come out with the diesel in the US. Their truck sales are looking to take a big drop in the US market. They are turning to be less milage freindly against the new dodge with the select ignition. So i would likely say that they would not want to waste time or money in trying to compete in the market that is dominated by diesels all ready. By the way, if you do not need a poer unit eighty five percent of the time; a.k.a. truck pulling trailer, you do not need to be cool and drive a diesel, you will have to drive this truck up to about 380000 mile to make it cost efective in what little you save at the pump.

  29. Kansas Rancher says:

    I have a 2008 tundra and have been very pleased with its 430 rear end, and the 6 speed trans. I use the tundra pulling loads of hay and a 24 ft. gooseneck of cattle which is about 12,000 lbs. 70 mph with no problem. In fact I have been so impressed I will buy a Tundra diesel the day they hit the dealers lot.

  30. steve says:

    Seems like most of you guys want at least 400lbs of tourque, 300+hp, and 20+ mpg. Well Toyota makes one called a Tundra. My 5.7 4×4 gets 21mpg highway and 18 city. Hell I can get 12+ pulling a 5,200lb cargo trailer. If Toyota can do this now then watch out big 3 when their diesel comes out.

  31. joe says:

    i deffinately 100% positive that toyota needs to come out with a diesel i live in tn and i am a yota fan i drive a toyota tundra myself yota power all the way , and it does need to have lots of horsepower, torque payload towing capacity yea so what its not american made but who care ford and chevy doesnt have anything on toyota i really WANT YALL TO GET THAT KICKASS TUNDRA DIESEL OUT AND ABOUT, so we can show people toyotas dont mess around

  32. Booooyah says:

    Toyota DOES make a diesel pickup. It’s called a Hilux and they’re overseas in places like Europe, Aussie and New Zealand. Looks like a tacoma. We silly americans just need to get with the program and get them over here all ready!!!

  33. samir says:

    Toyota has been devoloping diesel engines since the 1960, models like the Hilux,Fj 40 ,Land Cruiser 60,70,80,90,100,200 series.From 2.2 liters to 4.5liters. The 200 series being the LandCruiser in US, are marketed all over the world with diesel engines, Toyota produces a 4.5 v8 twin turbo diesel engine delivering 286hp and 650nm torque.This engine would be more than suitable for the Tundra , as it delivers enough power and meets all current US Fuel Emission laws.

  34. Brian says:

    I just read on LeftLane News that Akio Toyoda wants the company to focus more on what the customer wants, and that he felt that Toyota was too far removed from its customers. Do you think they’ll listen to us now and build a light duty diesel Tundra? I hope so. I’m still holding out on a new truck purchase until someone builds me a light diesel…I could be here awhile…

  35. Glenna M. says:

    My husband and I would love for a diesel pickup truck to come out by Toyota. It would need to let us pull a fifth wheel that would weigh about 15000 lbs and the truck bed would need to hold about 3000 to 4000 lbs.
    We have owned Corrollas, 4 Runner and an Echo and have been pleased with them.
    The American diesel’s have had too many expensive problems for us to trust.

  36. Brian – That would be sweet. I think that the light-duty diesel is inevitable because of CAFE, but what do I know. Ford’s EcoBoost manages to get quite a bit out of gas using direct injection, a turbocharger, and all the electronic toys. I think Toyota might just build a diesel Tundra when they re-open the San Antonio plant after moving in the Tacoma…maybe as a 2012 model? If I can get confirmation on that, I’ll be sure to publish as much.

  37. Glenna M – You’re most definitely not alone. There’s a guaranteed demand for a Toyota heavy duty diesel truck…but Toyota is scared right now. Scared to invest in trucks before they see how much the truck market will “bounce back.” Scared to lose money. Scared to invest in a vehicle that’s grossly under-performing in terms of sales. Etc. Keeping my fingers crossed, but I have strong doubts about an HD Tundra ever being built.

  38. billy c says:

    the tundras right now are huge…think if the made it…i would be scared to drive it, it might be so big…toyota should definatly think about making a tundra 1500 2500 and 3500 to help compete with gm and dodge..

  39. Mickey says:

    I think the problem isn’t making the truck but the powerplant. Toyota is known for reliability and dependability. Having a powerplant lasting the distance and finding someone reliable in making one suitable and cost effective to put into a truck is where R&D comes in. Since the market is slow and money being tight I can’t see the R&D being there to make sure this goes over well.

  40. Mickey – Agreed. I was excited when Isuzu and Toyota were working together on a diesel for a small car (Isuzu can build a big diesel for the Tundra all day long), but that partnership failed. HINO can build a big diesel of course, but they’re not familiar with North American emissions requirements. So, just as you said, the issue is the R&D…

  41. BUKUCUCKOO says:

    Why are Diesel Land Cruisers not available in the U.S.?
    They are one of the best vehicles ever but not allowed. Does anyone know why?

  42. Jason says:

    Bukucukoo – U.S. emissions laws make it almost impossible to sell an affordable diesel engine, and the take rate on a high dollar Land Cruiser diesel wouldn’t be very high I don’t think.

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