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Heavy-Duty Tundra may not happen

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HD Tundra in Limbo
Christie Schweinsberg
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Link to Original Article @ Ward's AutoWorld

A heavy-duty version of Toyota Motor Corp.'s new fullsize Tundra pickup truck is in limbo, an executive says.

“It's not green-lighted; it's not red-lighted,” Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager-Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., tells Ward's at a Toyota media event.

Carter, who took up his post recently after leading Toyota's Lexus luxury division in the U.S. for two years, would like to see such a vehicle, noting there is a market for a heavy-duty Tundra.

“Not only is there a market, but it's a great addition to the whole truck lineup,” Carter says.

Although heavy-duty versions of fullsize pickups traditionally are niche models, Ford Motor Co.'s F-Series Super Duty accounted for 40% of all F-Series sales in the U.S. in April.

Detroit's Big Three all offer heavy-duty fullsize pickups, while Toyota and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. do not.

Nissan reportedly has canceled plans for an HD Titan due to the cost of developing such a model, which needs a dedicated platform among other components.

The '07 Tundra fullsize pickup has received much ink since its launch in February, not all of it positive.

Carter bristles at the notion the vehicle is not meeting expectations, but admits Toyota got the projected mix wrong among the body styles and engines.

Also, Toyota projected the B-cab model would account for 10% of the total volume, which to date has not happened.

Toyota has had to apply more incentives to the B-cab Tundra than the Double Cab (C-cab) and CrewMax (D-cab) models.

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Perhaps changing the frames from glued together popsicle sticks to balsa wood would constitute HD for Toyota. Might help with the 4 star crash rating, too!

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I'm surprised that Toyota even considered heading into the HD market. Nissan builds the better truck, IMO, and they were smart enough to not enter the market.

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Toyota needs to realize among fleet buyers there's no brand loyalty. You can't drop an over-priced, not-so stripper model on the lot and expect fleet buyers to eat them up because their wife has a Camry and, goll darn it, Toyota knows how to build Camrys. Price is king in the fleet world and right now Toyota is somewhere between whipping boy and court jester.

Toyota should have offered a stripped V6 and V8 starting around 15 to 16 grand. People don't care about fancy gizmos in a work truck. But Toyota quickly learns from its mistake and I am willing to bet the 08 Tundra will correct many of the shortcomings of the 07 Tundra. As far as HD Tundra goes, I wouldn't rule it out. Toyota wants to compete with the domestics in every segment and they won't until they offer a HD.

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