5 Ways Toyota Is Screwing Up The Tundra
Toyota needs to stop being so damn conservative when it comes to the Tundra. Since 2007, Toyota has built a truck that can stand toe-to-toe with the best that Ford, GM, and Dodge had to offer. Never before has Toyota offered a truck with so much capability at such a great value. Consumers responded strongly to the new Tundra in 2007, and that response stayed strong through the debut of the TRD supercharger in 2008. After that, enthusiasm started to sputter. Toyota started out winning the battle for the hearts and minds of truck owners, but then they pulled back. What gives?
While it’s easy to blame a downturn in the truck market (and aggressive incentives from struggling domestic rivals) for the Tundra’s loss of momentum, the problem is deeper than that. The problem, plain and simple, is Toyota’s poor management of the development of the Tundra. Here’s what they’ve done wrong:
1) Toyota’s first retreat was from their commitment to build a hybrid Tundra. Toyota is the industry leader in hybrid technology, yet they decided not to invest in a hybrid Tundra because of cost and underwhelming performance. The official reasoning: “we can get similar performance from a small diesel.” Fine. Who are we to argue with Toyota (the world’s largest automaker)? Just because GM has a hybrid Silverado doesn’t mean that Toyota should have a hybrid Tundra. Besides, the disappointment over the lack of a hybrid is easy to accept if a diesel is on the way.
2) Toyota’s second retreat was from their commitment to build the small diesel they promised after backing off of the hybrid. When Toyota “postponed” the diesel, they cited the industry down turn and high fuel costs. Hindsight is 20-20, but seriously, what were they thinking? Diesel is back to being cheap again (less than gasoline actually), so consumers aren’t going to be afraid to invest in a diesel truck.
Besides, what better time would there be to launch a Tundra with a small diesel than right now? Consumers are looking for ways to save and a diesel Tundra will get 20-25% better fuel economy than a gas Tundra. There’s also the fact that Toyota would have been first to market with a half-ton diesel, and bragging rights are a huge benefit in the North American light truck industry because they lead directly to sales. Truck owners are a competitive bunch, and a Tundra diesel would be a strong seller (especially if it was the only diesel half-ton available).
3) Toyota fails to acknowledge Tundra quality concerns. Tundra owners have been complaining about bed bounce since early 2007, and the problem is reasonably well documented. However, despite the evidence, Toyota has never acknowledged the concern. We’re not looking for an admission of guilt here – just an admission of the facts. Same goes for the rust issues with 07 and up Tundra chrome parts. Let’s not even get started on the frame rust issues with 2000-2002 Tundras.
4) Toyota leadership isn’t talking up the Tundra – they’re talking it down. A multitude of statements from Toyota leadership all downplay the significance of the Tundra because they’re all focused on small cars and hybrids. While Toyota is wise to focus on building small cars (they’re more popular than trucks are worldwide), why can’t Toyota talk about forging ahead with a bigger and better pickup truck? It’s not like pickup trucks are going away – they’re an essential tool for millions of North Americans. Why isn’t Toyota talking about the fact they make a great truck? Every statement has been focused on “getting back to small cars.” It sounds like they’re waiving the white flag in the truck market, and that’s B.S. The Tundra is a top-notch truck – why not talk about it?
5) Where’s our HD Tundra already? Has there ever been a better time to release a heavy duty Tundra? Dodge just filed bankrupcty, and consumers are running away from the brand in droves. GM will likely soon follow. Hundreds of thousands of truck sales are up for grabs, yet Toyota doesn’t have an entry in this key segment. What gives? The San Antonio plant has the capacity to make the truck, and our sources say the HD Tundra has been on the drawing board for almost 5 years…the HD Tundra could be in production right now. Unfortunately, the HD Tundra hasn’t left the drawing board because: Toyota isn’t confident enough in the Tundra’s ability to succeed.
Where’s the Toyota that took a risk and developed the Prius despite the fact it wasn’t profitable? Where’s the Toyota that imported the 1964 Stout, an ugly and gutless little pickup that collectors seek because it just won’t die? Where’s the Toyota that clamored to be the largest automaker in the world not even 3 years ago?
Wherever that Toyota is, we hope it comes back and pays attention to the Tundra real soon.
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com