The 2007-10 Toyota Tundra hasn’t been quite the success that Toyota envisioned, but that doesn’t mean the automaker is ready to give up on its sales-challenged half-ton hauler. The company is planning a thorough redesign of the truck, according to our sources.
The current Tundra was designed from the ground up to compete with full-size pickups from Chrysler, Ford and GM. On paper, the story was compelling. The Tundra featured a strong 5.7-liter V-8, could tow up to 10,800 pounds and was available in regular, extended-cab and crew-cab configurations.
Toyota was so confident in the strength of its new truck and the American truck market that it invested more than $1 billion to build a dedicated assembly plant in Texas with the capacity to build 200,000 Tundras a year in addition to a second Tundra factory in Indiana that could produce 100,000 annually.
The Tundra came close to meeting its annual sales goals of 200,000 trucks per year in the 1st year but has missed each year since by a wide margin, suffering from the effects of both the economy and high-profile quality and safety issues. About 460,000 Tundras have been built since 2007, and less than 80,000 were sold in 2009.
In response to lower-than-expected demand, Toyota consolidated all Tundra production in Texas – shifting Toyota Highlander production to its Indiana factory – and also moved production of the midsize Toyota Tacoma to the Tundra’s plant in Texas to soak up the extra production capacity.
That’s led some to wonder about Toyota’s long-term dedication to the Tundra, especially in light of tough new fuel-economy rules set to take effect by 2016. Will Toyota continue to invest in the Tundra?
Our sources say the next Tundra will arrive by 2014, just in time to take on all-new full-size light-duty pickups expected from GM, Nissan and Ford. That time period is looking like it will be a replay of 2007-08, which also had a fast cadence of new half-ton introductions.
But while Toyota is keeping the faith in Tundra, at least for one more generation, the Japanese automaker is said to be cutting its losses with the Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV that’s based on the Tundra platform. We hear the big people-mover will be killed at the end of this life cycle.