Toyota’s Cautious Truck Future, 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD PRO Plows New Headquarters
Tim Esterdahl | Jan 21, 2015 | Comments 26
The future of Toyota trucks in North America is at a pretty interesting crossroads right now and breaking ground at a new Texas headquarters with a TRD PRO shines a bit spotlight on it. What does 2015 and on look like for Toyota’s truck plans? Here is what we know.
Maxed Out = No New Varities
Currently, Toyota is selling every truck they can make. While makes it sound like the market is really hot, Toyota (like GM) doesn’t see it as continuing to boom. Toyota sees the truck market as plateauing out this year and they are cautious on how they move forward. They see the mid-size segment expanding with the addition of more competition, yet they don’t seem to buy GM’s thinking that this will be new customers moving from another segment. Instead, these will be truck customers moving out of full-size and/or customers brand swapping from one mid-size maker to the other. Ultimately, slowing down the growth of the Tacoma doesn’t hurt Toyota since they will just continue to ramp up production of the Tundra.
There will be some relief soon with the Baja facility adding a third shift and, we would assume, the San Antonio plant doing the same. Each of these facilities is currently running at over capacity on the shifts they have now. Adding additional shifts should add about 10 percent more production. However, dealers and Toyota have admitted that still leaves them short of filling all the demand. Estimates we hear are they are short between 20 to 30 percent on what they offer now.
While at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, we sought out Toyota Chief Engineer Mike Sweers for his comments on the market and future power train options. While he is often limited as to what he can say, he did give us some interesting insight into their current thinking.
Sweers said the demand on both the Tundra and Tacoma is limiting the amount of varieties he can offer as well as a diesel engine.
THQ – Is there a production concern as well with offering the Tacoma in many different varieties? It seems like the San Antonio plant is maxed out.
Sweers – That is the other issue right. I’m selling every truck I can build right now. Our plant is running over 100 percent capacity. How many variations do you offer when you can’t build enough trucks as it is?
The Baja plant’s third shift is going to reduce some of that pressure. We were actually at one point, down to a nine-day supply on Tacomas. We have a balancing act between Tacomas and Tundras. It is a really good problem to have since they are both hot sellers right now. I just can’t build enough trucks.
New Plant Moratorium Over
Just before leaving for the show we found out Toyota President Akio Toyoda told reporters in Nagoya, Japan, the new plant moratorium is over.
Shortly after taking over Toyota, Akio Toyoda announced the moratorium on new plant building to reign in growth and improve quality.
“It has been nearly three years since we began talking about the three-year freeze,” Toyoda told reporters, in reference to the restriction started in April 2013.
We recently reported Toyota officials were scouting locations and this announcement means it will happen. The news report we read said they were looking at China or Mexico. Considering how awful Toyota does in China due to a variety of reasons including cultural issues, it seems like Mexico is a much better option. Also, remember, trucks built in Mexico are NOT subject to the Chicken Tax thanks to a provision in NAFTA.
Truck Plows New Headquarters
In a unique groundbreaking ceremony, Toyota used a snowplow equipped Tundra TRD PRO to break ground. Make no mistake on the significance of this. Toyota knows the importance of full-size trucks in Texas and the trucks importance to the companies bottom line.
While it was too early to tell what the new headquarters means for the Tundra and Tacoma, one thing is for sure. With company officials flying to Texas now instead of California, the conversation will likely include trucks more often. We would also expect the San Antonio plant to receive many more official visits from company executives and the entire truck lineup to be more scrutinized.
For Toyota the math is pretty simple. The one area that has the most growth possibilities and could use additional production is trucks. This moving to Texas is going to shine a pretty big spotlight on them.
Filed Under: Tundra News
I think by the time they figure this out, the market will be in another slow down cycle.
Too bad they’re focusing on building outdated trucks rather than coming out with new tech like the competitors
By “outdated”, what exactly do you mean? The new Tacoma engine is pretty advanced.
Still trotting out an engine designed in 2006 and expecting it to be competitive with things designed in 12-14′. Just not realistic and that’s why it’s no longer competitive in HP and MPG numbers. See last pickuptrucks.com half ton test, dead last in everything, pretty sad to see. Time to step it up.
The new “high tech” GM ecotech engines can not independently vary the valve timing on both the intake and exhaust like the “old” 3UR-FE. Cylinder deactivation, hopefully GM has all the bugs fixed now. None of those things are anything new. You do know that Toyota has been producing engines with direct injection since 1998 right? And port and direct injection is the better way to go. After many years of having carbon buildup problems, even VW is going the port/direct injection route. Fuel economy is just on small part of the total cost of ownership. The more reliable motor will cost less in the long run.
How can the Texas Tundra plant be at capacity?
I thought it could produce 200,000 Tundra’s a year?
Here’s my source:
Production is split between Tacoma and Tundra. Tacoma production moved down there from Indiana after the San Antonio plant was built that is why Wiki is off.
How is toyota maxed at 120k when near 200k was possible back in ’08.
Production is split between the Tacoma and Tundra.
But isn’t the tundra built both in Indiana and Texas.
They moved production a little over 5 years ago. https://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/toyota-consolidates-tundra-manufacturing-hd-tundra-tabled/
I think the real question is: Will Toyota get a clue by living in TX? Let’s start with the easy things, Toyota:
1.) 6.5 ft bed on crewmax
2.) 33 gal fuel tank
3.) minimum 22mpg HWY on the top of the line engine
I KNOW they have the technology to do all of these…and this would just keep them barely on par with the competition. The 2007 Tundra was the “truck that changed it all.” With Nissan releasing the new Titan XD it seems like Tundra is the new Titan. Old technology and worst in class gas mileage.
Just wondering, why do so many people ask for a 6.5 foot bed? Seems kind of small to be useful. Kind of turns a truck into a Suburban or Sequoia type thing which can move more people.
About the fuel tank, at 15 MPG 25 gallons goes 375 miles, 33 gallons goes 495. Se we have about 120 miles more travel, doesn’t seem like all that much. Can’t think of any place that 120 miles might cause us an out of fuel condition. I agree, I would prefer 33 gallons, my truck has 38, but, is it a top priority and a deal breaker? Just wondering?
When the CMax only comes with a 5.5 ft bed, a 6.5 ft bed is a significant improvement. An 8 ft bed is available with the double cab for those with the real cargo carrying need. The 6.5 ft bed bridges the gap for those of us who need to carry passengers and cargo.
As far as the fuel tank capacity: Is it a deal breaker? Probably not. Its a convenience issue. When driving long distances pulling a trailer and getting 12 mpg that 26 gallons flashes by in a hurry. I usually get gas at 1/4 tank to prevent an out of fuel condition, so at that rate I am stopping every 3.5 hrs to gas up. So yeah, an extra 120 miles is a big deal.
The other truck makers offer these conveniences, why not Toyota? Again, they need to be competitive. They’re not with the current truck. I really think the only reason they sell as many as they do is because its a Toyota. If the Nissan can be reliable, I think they will be a serious threat to Toyota with the new Titan.
Those are all worthy suggestions. What bothers me the most is the continuous pattern that started in 2010 with removing content from the Tundra each year. The ’07-09 were great trucks, the newer ones are lacking and no longer compare to the competition!
Funny Facts Peeps Overlook:
Toyota truck production is split among two plants for North America. They are currently at capacity for both Tacoma and Tundra.
It appears West Texas Crude will be at $30 a barrel soon. The layoffs have already started in a very big way. The construction downturn will follow quickly this year.
Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd are now attempting to gain serious market share at the expense of each other. The biggest oil companies are not worried at all; they have plenty of cheap old oil in the ground and can still make big profits at $25 a barrel, with no fracking required.
T. Boone Pickens says, once the majors (oil companies) get what they want out of the oil market changes (the players), the price of oil should be back to about $100 a barrel in 24 months.
Hopefully Toyota will not get caught with their pants down again, or over build truck plant capacity; but are able to read the tea leafs and be ready for the upswing as it begins.
For those of us that actually watch what is happening in the truck market, Ford is actually in a crisis state. If the downturn is as bad as many are projecting they could be gone. After all they are the “only” truck maker that had “negative” growth rates during the last upswing while “all” other companies had positive gains.
If you have noticed there have been some significant changes (not good ones) at the top management levels at Ford and IMHO it is time to sell your Ford stock. They have completely lost touch with their customers.
“Sweers – That is the other issue right. I’m selling every truck I can build right now. Our plant is running over 100 percent capacity. How many variations do you offer when you can’t build enough trucks as it is?”
So, this handicap will result in the Tundra being less competitive since it is seriously lacking options.
One thing Toyota could do is, and as I’ve stated in other posts, start a warranty war. They can offer a 7yr/125K warranty. Since Sweers always mentions QRD/QDR, how about backing it up with a longer warranty? You don’t need extra capacity for that.
Interesting point on the warranty. I hadn’t thought about that. They could really do that and challenge the competition to step up. Hmm…
Thanks. Sweers better get it in gear with the Tundra fast or there will not be a capacity problem by the end of 2015.
Also, when my manager asks me to do something, I find a way to get it done. Period. It amazes that a chief engineer can get away with not finding a way to add a ITBC, larger fuel tank, etc. These are features current Tundra owners are asking for.
Every other truck manufacturer has been able to add these features except the greatest auto manufacturer in the world. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?
I may be critical, but I am right.
When could we expect to see the reveal of the new Tundra? And when would they reveal the Cummins if they are doing it?
Normal product cycle is 7 years with a mid-cycle refresh halfway. Typically the mid-cycle refresh has powertrain changes. Considering the Tundra 5.7L engine is pretty old in today’s standards, we would guess sometime in 2017 or so. This aligns with the changes in fuel economy standards. If Toyota is ever going diesel, that would be the time to do it.
But, you never know. Bill Fay, Toyota’s North American chief told me that the typical product cycle may be dead at the new Camry unveil. So, who knows really.
At the meltdown of 2008 yota moved production of tundra out of Princeton Indiana to solely San antonio. San Antonio is running over capacity building all tundras and what was 75% of tacos. Baja was building the other 25% of Tacomas and they are getting ready to turn on a third shift at baja to up the number. baja builds only double cab tacos. I often wonder if they could build at Princeton again but that’s now not likely because of the new highlander…….. They just can’t build enough of those they are getting as rare as Prius used to be!
So I guess we wont hear any annoucements from Toyota on the Cummins this year? I was hoping they would release the engine this fall.
I don’t know if we will ever see a Cummins powered Tundra. I think Toyota will pull one from overseas before going Cummins. Better profit for Toyota.
Cummins is in the leader in diesel. Remember when Navistar redesigned their engines and could not get them past government certification. They were forced to put Cummins engines in their trucks to survive until they could get their engine square with the Feds. It cost them a ton.
Toyota sells diesel all over the world but, those markets do not demand what the US does. Any diesel from outside the US will be suspect after UREA injection, EGR, filtration and the controls are added. Cummins already has it right.
There are already problems with the Italian diesel in the Ram 1500.
If a Tundra Cummins is delivered I would not worry about buying one. Anything else and my purchase would be on hold for at least 3 years until it has been proven.
If Toyota is not considering Cummins they would be making a big mistake. Diesel in the US is a problem. If you don’t need to tow 10000 pounds a gas motor is the way to go and will cost less in the long run.
Let me clear in that they are considering diesel. I think they know exactly what they need to do to import one from overseas and that is part of their concern. The exhaust aftertreatment is a big deterrent for them.