Reports That 4.5L Diesel Tundra “Delayed Indefinitely” Don’t Add Up

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UPDATE – This news has been confirmed – please see our response “Dropping The Diesel A Dumb Decision

### has reported that plans for a light-duty 4.5L diesel Tundra have been shelved. We officially doubt the veracity of this news report.

1. Toyota is rumored to be producing a 4.5L diesel version of the Landcruiser for the Canadian market next year (promotional materials have been described). Making this engine ready for the low-volume Canadian market while canceling it in the U.S. makes no sense. At the very least, if the Tundra doesn’t get the 4.5L, you can bet that nothing else in the North America will either.

2. The 4.5L diesel boosts Toyota’s CAFE average. Toyota will find it easier to meet new CAFE requirements if they find a way to improve truck and large SUV fuel economy by 25%. The 4.5L diesel would improve fuel economy by at least that much.

3. Everyone else is doing it. Dodge, Ford, and GM definitely need to build small diesel motors if they want to have any chance of meeting federal CAFE requirements. This is an absolute, set in stone, iron-clad fact. The domestics WILL be offering diesel versions of the Ram, Silverado/Sierra, and F150 by 2010 or 2011. Toyota can’t be the only manufacturer that doesn’t offer this engine – at least not without officially becoming an “also-ran.”

4. The LandCruiser and the Sequoia would both benefit from a diesel motor. The 4.5L wasn’t just going to be put in the Tundra – it was also going to be offered in the Sequoia and the LandCruiser. Both of these vehicles could use a powerful and fuel efficient motor.

5. Finally, and most importantly, this rumor doesn’t make sense. If we assume for a moment that the U.S. truck market is going “small,” big truck sales (i.e. three-quarter and one-ton trucks) will suffer the most. Ford, GM, and Dodge have already determined that their HD and SuperDuty lines are overkill for 90% of their buyers, hence their commitment to offering diesel half-ton trucks. The rationale is that by offering a powerful diesel in a half-ton truck, you give people currently driving a 3/4 or 1-ton truck a truck to “step down” to. A half-ton diesel can offer tremendous performance (12k lbs towing, 2500lbs payload) while also offering decent fuel economy and lower maintenance costs. After all, less than 5 years ago most heavy duty trucks (3/4 and 1 ton) couldn’t pull much more than 12k lbs. Now half-tons are pulling that much.

We think this rumor has been “floated” by Toyota’s PR people to guage public response to a possible official announcement. It sounds like the penny-pinchers at Toyota are advocating a step in the wrong direction – hopefully the loud public outcry will put them in their place.

Filed Under: Diesel

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  1. Stan says:

    How can it be wrong if they quote a toyota exec? Doesn’t look good for diesel tundra.

  2. Stan – updated their original announcement – someone is now on record as stating that the Tundra diesel has been placed on the back-burner. You’ll see our response next week.

  3. I would truly like to see the Tundra 3/4 or 1 ton truck on the road. My dad owns a F-250 now. I think it is the is the best in its class right now, but if Toyota does market the Dualie Tundra, they will definitely find themselves in a happy place. As I follow the specs on the projected vehicle I feel the domestic manufacturers will be forced to withdraw some of their production.

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