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Variance

The New Tundra

53 posts in this topic

The New Tundra: Success or Strike 3?

-Variance

February 11, 2006

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Image: Toyota/Lexus/Scion Pressroom

The Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in America. It has been thanks to its reputation for being impeccably reliable, styling that’s not unpleasing to the eye (but not particularly thrilling to look at) and being basically just a good Average Joe car. The 2007 Camry with its (slightly) bolder styling, increased power and available hybrid powertrain will likely allow the Camry to keep its best-seller crown.

But I’m not here to talk about the Camry. I’m writing this to reflect on Toyota’s full-size pickup, the Tundra, which has been everything but a best-seller.

A Forgettable Past

Toyota first foray into the big pickup market was the 1993 T-100. The effort put into the truck seemed to have been as much as VW’s effort in bringing the Mark V Golf/GTI to the States in a timely manner. It was smaller than its domestic competitors, sized between a Dodge Dakota and “full” full-sizers. The truck also only came in a regular cab configuration. Also, the T-100 initially only came with a 3.0L V6 with a tire-smoking 150hp. Realizing their slip-up in offering this as their only engine, Toyota set themselves straight and offered another engine for 1994 model year: a 2.7L inline-4 with that same 150hp and 177 lb-ft of torque (which – by the way – is only3 lb-ft less than the V6 managed to muster). Fortunately, this could only be had in the stripper 2WD T-100s. For ’95, the T upgraded to a DOHC 3.4L V6 that pushed out a less embarrassing 190 horses and 220 pound-feet. But the damage of the first two years had been done. Even with a respectable payload of 2480lb payload capacity offered by its “One Ton” model, the T-100 did not win over a great amount of truck buyers.

The Second Time Around

Toyota took a 1999 model year hiatus to try to get it right the second time. The result was a brand-new truck with a brand-new name: the Tundra. Toyota took this one a bit more seriously. The 3.4 V6 made a return appearance but it didn’t come alone. The Tundra’s full power came in the form of a 4.7-liter V8 engine that brought 245hp and 315lb-ft to the table. The power was on par with the domestics but as with the T-100, the sizing wasn’t. It was still somewhat undersized compared to its competitors and it wouldn’t be until the 2004 model year (with the introduction of the Double Cab) that the Tundra would be truly full-sized. It also didn’t help that Nissan, with the introduction of the Titan featuring a powerful 5.6L V8, overshadowed Toyota in being known as the producer of the first true Japanese full-size truck.

It would seem if Toyota’s designer were to ever get this full-size truck thing right, they would need a swift kick in the ass.

Third Time a Charm?

Well, it would seem with the new 2007 Tundra, they received two swift kicks in the ass with spiked-toed boots....coated in hot sauce.

The Tundra was officially unveiled this week at the Chicago Auto Show and it looks like Toyota is dead set on making this truck a contender. The new Tundra is able to be called truly full-sized (not just the crew cab version). The premiered extended cab model meets or exceeds the domestic and Nissan full-size trucks in most dimensions. It also offers more engine choice than ever. In addition to a 4.0L V6 and old top engine, the 4.7L i-Force V8; the Tundra packs a brand-new 5.7L V8. Specific numbers are not known but Toyota has states it will exceed 300hp that will be mated with a 6-speed transmission.

Another problem that plagued the previous trucks was that many felt that they had the styling of older Fords. The previous Tundra’s interior was criticized by some of having the interior of the previous generation F-150. You’d be hard pressed to find a copied styling element with the new Tundra. The “yin-and-yang” interior especially is very unique. In fact, Toyota tried so hard and to make the Tundra look original, that it borders on looking cartoonish, quite frankly. At it stands, though I think they pulled it off decently.

The Next Level

If there’s any real indication that Toyota isn’t messing about with the new Tundra, it would be the new San Antonio, Texas plant built for the new Tundra in which they invested $800 million. Also, it has become common knowledge that Toyota (as well as Nissan) plans on building a heavy-duty version of the Tundra. It was reported a little while back that Toyota was in talks with diesel-engine maker Cummins about producing a V8 diesel engine.

Variance’s Verdict

So will the new Tundra set the full-size pickup world on fire? Well, I certainly think it will take a larger piece of the pie than the previous Tundra did but the next Silverado and Sierra are around the corner and judging by the newest spyshots (and the already unveiled Avalanche), Toyota can expect GM won’t be giving up it’s market share without a bloody, knock-down, drag-out, boisterous, violent fight. (Have you seen the new HD GM trucks? Damn, those are some big-ass trucks...) Also in 2007, Nissan’s and Ford’s full-sizers, the Titan and F-150, are due to be refreshed and they both will likely see (at least) power upgrades.

Grab some popcorn, guys. This’ll be a good one.

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Nice read. You pointed out a good X-factor that that really helps put things into perspective about this truck. Toyota's climb to the top of the automotive pantheon came at a time where its #1 competitor was going through a transition phase. Toyota gained market share because GM had nothing on the horizon, nothing going for it, and had the interiors of early 90's trucks and cars. So if the new Tundra was going up against the 06 Silverado, then yes, it is a better truck, and would have gained market share. Only now its different. Its not the same GM that Toyota grew accustomed to taking market share from. This one is different now. America has obviously fallen in love with the new Tahoe. The idea of getting a beautiful truck or SUV with a Chevy badge is something that hasn't really happened before. Toyota has gotten accustomed to getting to the market first. This way they are assured of stealing sales. But it's just not the case this time. When the new Silverado comes out, the Toyota team will look befuddled again and say "Now what?" Which is exactly what they should be asking. Because unlike before, the Silverado and Tundra are coming out at the same time. And one is breaking the previous incarnations downfalls, even though it remained the best selling vehicle for God knows how many years. So what stands to break more ground? A truck that barely sold getting signifcantly improved, or a domestic icon getting obscenely improved? This isn't a Toyota bash, just a realization. I'll eat my words if this new Tundra turns out to be a market hit, though there is a much higher chance that it will not. Why would it? It's not like its a 300C, a VW Beetle or a Toyota Prius. It's not something a biased market desperately needs. People have a different image of trucks than of cars. And in that stance, Toyota is setting themselves up for dissapointment again. Again, I bring up the Nissan Titan. The truck that was supposed to steal sales from the domestics and climb up the truck ladder. Initial sales pointed that way, only to bottom out and flatten. And it has stayed there. Similar to the bias that a good luxury car is made from a foreign brand, a good truck is made by domestics. This Tundra, even though better than the original, does not even begin to try to change that. It is not THAT much better. It's just better.

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Nice read. You pointed out a good X-factor that that really helps put things into perspective about this truck. Toyota's climb to the top of the automotive pantheon came at a time where its #1 competitor was going through a transition phase. Toyota gained market share because GM had nothing on the horizon, nothing going for it, and had the interiors of early 90's trucks and cars. So if the new Tundra was going up against the 06 Silverado, then yes, it is a better truck, and would have gained market share. Only now its different. Its not the same GM that Toyota grew accustomed to taking market share from. This one is different now. America has obviously fallen in love with the new Tahoe. The idea of getting a beautiful truck or SUV with a Chevy badge is something that hasn't really happened before. Toyota has gotten accustomed to getting to the market first. This way they are assured of stealing sales. But it's just not the case this time. When the new Silverado comes out, the Toyota team will look befuddled again and say "Now what?" Which is exactly what they should be asking. Because unlike before, the Silverado and Tundra are coming out at the same time. And one is breaking the previous incarnations downfalls, even though it remained the best selling vehicle for God knows how many years. So what stands to break more ground? A truck that barely sold getting signifcantly improved, or a domestic icon getting obscenely improved? This isn't a Toyota bash, just a realization. I'll eat my words if this new Tundra turns out to be a market hit, though there is a much higher chance that it will not. Why would it? It's not like its a 300C, a VW Beetle or a Toyota Prius. It's not something a biased market desperately needs. People have a different image of trucks than of cars. And in that stance, Toyota is setting themselves up for dissapointment again. Again, I bring up the Nissan Titan. The truck that was supposed to steal sales from the domestics and climb up the truck ladder. Initial sales pointed that way, only to bottom out and flatten. And it has stayed there. Similar to the bias that a good luxury car is made from a foreign brand, a good truck is made by domestics. This Tundra, even though better than the original, does not even begin to try to change that. It is not THAT much better. It's just better.

For GM to dismiss Toyota would be at its own peril. Toyota will sell every single Tundra they pump out - at a profit and with few incentives. GM will not be able to say the same thing even with the new and, presumably, excellent Silverado/Sierra design.

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I like the looks of the new Tundra, except for one thing....the hood seems to be too short with respect to the rest of the vehicle.

It'll probably stack up very well with its tech specs though, so it should do well.

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I would like nothing more than see the new Tundra to bomb in the marketplace. It would be great to see GM and Ford come out with best in class products that put Toyota to shame. I would love to see Toyota's new plant in Texas scaled back over time because lack of demand for the Tundra. If this does not happen, then the truck market will slowly become like the car market is today and GM and Ford will continue to shrink.

Mark

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Toyota gained market share because GM had nothing on the horizon, nothing going for it, and had the interiors of early 90's trucks and cars. So if the new Tundra was going up against the 06 Silverado, then yes, it is a better truck, and would have gained market share. Only now its different. Its not the same GM that Toyota grew accustomed to taking market share from. This one is different now. America has obviously fallen in love with the new Tahoe. The idea of getting a beautiful truck or SUV with a Chevy badge is something that hasn't really happened before.

That's what I was alluding to near the end of the article. If there's one thing GM doesn't mess around with, it's their pickup trucks.

The reason for my opening paragraph about the Camry was to make a point that I believe Toyota expected too much leverage from their brand name. That is to say, when the average American buys a Camry (or any Toyota car) they (not always but) often sell with the help of the "Toyota" name. Toyota used a simple recipe:

-Good reliability

-Inoffensive styling

-"Toyota" name

Blend together and serve to public for good sales.

The problem though, is that this recipe doesn't work well for trucks. It's like using a cookie recipe thinking it'll make a good cake. Sure, some people might like it but it's not really the appropriate thing to do. Truck buyers are more demanding than car buyers. They need more assurances that the vehicle they buy is going to be able to do what they ask of it. The fact that the previous Tundra and T-100 were "Toyotas" only helped them so much but the name wasn't enough to outweigh their glaring deficinies.

Toyota was able to take it relatively easy with the Camry in the past because quite frankly GM (and the other domestics) dicked around to some extent with their midsize cars (though today, they are improving on that front). But GM knows how important trucks are to them, so they pull vitrually no punches with them.

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If they offer enough configaration plus a heavy duty version, I think they can easily sell between 200 to 300K a year. I am sort of surprised that GM plans to stick with the 4 speed auto for the 5.3L engine and only offering the 6 speed with the 6.0 and the 6.2L engine. But I guess that is understandable given GM's financial situation.

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For GM to dismiss Toyota would be at its own peril.  Toyota will sell every single Tundra they pump out - at a profit and with few incentives.  GM will not be able to say the same thing even with the new and, presumably, excellent Silverado/Sierra design.

How do you figure? Oh thats right...because the new Tahoes are not moving at all without incentives and at a profit. Right? Everyone, especially Toyota, needs to realize that GM has changed. And every single car coming out is aimed at Toyota's throat. The Enclave is a straight shot at one of their biggest cash cows, the RX. The Tahoe is a much worthier SUV than the Sequoia or 4 Runner. The Saturn Aura looks to be a great Camry/Corolla fighter...but all of these market segments are not dominated by any one make or model. They arent. Except for trucks, which are dominated by Chevy and Ford. Nissan released the Titan a few years back, into the heart of the GMT-800 Silverado's campaign. Did they lose sales? No. They did not lose sales against a superior truck, with a better interior and "more reliability". Why is that? Because Americans love American trucks. And Americans like the idea of imported cars. GM wasnt going to stand still and tread mud forever. So people think that his new Tundra is going to give the Silver-freaking-rado, GM's cash cow, GM's flagship, the single vehicle line that has kept the Chevy name at the top of the charts for God knows how many years now, a run for its money? Please. Not going to happen until GM itself caves. Because unlike the car industry, it doesnt matter what magazines or editors say, or anyone else. In the full size truck market, Toyota is bottom of the barrel. And has a long way to go before they even begin trying to climb to the top.

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How do you figure? Oh thats right...because the new Tahoes are not moving at all without incentives and at a profit. Right? Everyone, especially Toyota, needs to realize that GM has changed. And every single car coming out is aimed at Toyota's throat. The Enclave is a straight shot at one of their biggest cash cows, the RX. The Tahoe is a much worthier SUV than the Sequoia or 4 Runner. The Saturn Aura looks to be a great Camry/Corolla fighter...but all of these market segments are not dominated by any one make or model. They arent. Except for trucks, which are dominated by Chevy and Ford. Nissan released the Titan a few years back, into the heart of the GMT-800 Silverado's campaign. Did they lose sales? No. They did not lose sales against a superior truck, with a better interior and "more reliability". Why is that? Because Americans love American trucks. And Americans like the idea of imported cars. GM wasnt going to stand still and tread mud forever. So people think that his new Tundra is going to give the Silver-freaking-rado, GM's cash cow, GM's flagship, the single vehicle line that has kept the Chevy name at the top of the charts for God knows how many years now, a run for its money? Please. Not going to happen until GM itself caves. Because unlike the car industry, it doesnt matter what magazines or editors say, or anyone else. In the full size truck market, Toyota is bottom of the barrel. And has a long way to go before they even begin trying to climb to the top.

I don't know...If the power and fuel economy are on par with the domestics, I think this may steal some sales from them.

I know some people through work. Some of them currently drive Import cars and domestic trucks, and from talking to them they would have no problem buying an Import truck. The only reason they have not is some of them are in construction and contracting, and the Toyota was always a bit smaller and less powerful than the domestics. If that changes (and it looks like it may), Toyota may attract truck buyers who already own Import cars.

I won't buy one. I don't really need a full size truck, and while I like the looks of this new truck I think the hood is too short, but I think others will.

One thing is for sure, I dont' think Toyota will lose any current Tundra owners because they don't like this new one as much as the old one.

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Ok so we have a lot of opinionated people over here at C&G but over at Toyota Nation, its insane the amount of bias. I'm trying to rally the troops, lets go over there and show them.

They sure biased... but I'd just leave them alone. If we all go there and fill up the boards, what's to stop them from coming here and doing the same, filling it up with their heavily opinionated verbal diharraea.

Nah, I'd just wait for some head to head tests, (Silverado or Sierra vs. Tundra) and let the results speak for themselves. Japan has not made a truly successful domestic-beater truck yet, (T-100, Tacoma, Ridgeline) and honestly, the Tundra is going to have such a huge, expensive price gap between the Domestic's, that it'll barely make a dent, just like the others.

(If you do decide to storm the Toyota page, maybe you oughta get the Dodge/Mopar and Ford dudes to help out... I'd bet they'd love to give us a hand :AH-HA_wink: )

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Looks like this time, they copied the Dodge Ram front end and flipped the headlights upside down.

The way Toyota shaped the rear of the cab as well reminds me of Dodges Quad Cab models.

Overall, bigger truck, still ugly as sin IMHO.

Edited by Brandon Lutz

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Ok so we have a lot of opinionated people over here at C&G but over at Toyota Nation, its insane the amount of bias. I'm trying to rally the troops, lets go over there and show them.

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/t121001.html

I wouldn't waste your time. They would kill you. No joke. :fryingpan:

that would be like J-body or Neon owners bashing Hondas on their website... :blink:

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Nice read. You pointed out a good X-factor that that really helps put things into perspective about this truck. Toyota's climb to the top of the automotive pantheon came at a time where its #1 competitor was going through a transition phase. Toyota gained market share because GM had nothing on the horizon, nothing going for it, and had the interiors of early 90's trucks and cars. So if the new Tundra was going up against the 06 Silverado, then yes, it is a better truck, and would have gained market share. Only now its different. Its not the same GM that Toyota grew accustomed to taking market share from. This one is different now. America has obviously fallen in love with the new Tahoe. The idea of getting a beautiful truck or SUV with a Chevy badge is something that hasn't really happened before. Toyota has gotten accustomed to getting to the market first. This way they are assured of stealing sales. But it's just not the case this time. When the new Silverado comes out, the Toyota team will look befuddled again and say "Now what?" Which is exactly what they should be asking. Because unlike before, the Silverado and Tundra are coming out at the same time. And one is breaking the previous incarnations downfalls, even though it remained the best selling vehicle for God knows how many years. So what stands to break more ground? A truck that barely sold getting signifcantly improved, or a domestic icon getting obscenely improved? This isn't a Toyota bash, just a realization. I'll eat my words if this new Tundra turns out to be a market hit, though there is a much higher chance that it will not. Why would it? It's not like its a 300C, a VW Beetle or a Toyota Prius. It's not something a biased market desperately needs. People have a different image of trucks than of cars. And in that stance, Toyota is setting themselves up for dissapointment again. Again, I bring up the Nissan Titan. The truck that was supposed to steal sales from the domestics and climb up the truck ladder. Initial sales pointed that way, only to bottom out and flatten. And it has stayed there. Similar to the bias that a good luxury car is made from a foreign brand, a good truck is made by domestics. This Tundra, even though better than the original, does not even begin to try to change that. It is not THAT much better. It's just better.

You make some good points my friend...But things are different now.

The new Silverado will be much better. That I know.

But the Tundra will still steal sales...if in the fact it is nothing more than the tundra

just being different...

And the truck market is changing, right before your eyes. Loyalties are not as important as they used to be. That, gas prices, along with other issues are

making things much different than just a few years ago.

You bring up the Titan...but it was way too hyped...even though it wasn't a bad truck. Nissian was very unprepared..they did their own thing, and well, you see where that went.

Before you say the Tundra is not much better, you may want to drive it first.

That's how I plan to decide.

Well, almost anyways/ :spin:

You know what they say about looks.... :P

*me running from tundra* :lol:

THough I would still like to drive it first..to see how it stacks up.......

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Looks like this time, they copied the Dodge Ram front end and flipped the headlights upside down.

The way Toyota shaped the rear of the cab as well reminds me of Dodges Quad Cab models.

Overall, bigger truck, still ugly as sin IMHO.

From the back, it looks good.

The front, well... :banghead:

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Yes gas prices might change things, but GM already had the most efficient truck, and they just set the bar higher. Even though the Tundra was smaller, with a less powerful engine, it was still less efficient than the Silverado. I wonder how the new bigger Tundra with bigger engines, will fare with gas mileage.

GM will also have the hybrid model available in a year.

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i don't think it will steal sales in any significant manner from ford or chevy, but it will bring a few new sales of people who might not have thought of buying a truck, same as the honda ridgeline. it will continue at the pace it has until now, being barely profitable, but toyota will never exit the market.

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I would think the Tundra would get some Tacoma sales also..toyota small trucks have had a loyal following for a long time..I could see some Tacoma owners and intenders stepping up to the Tundra..

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I would like nothing more than see the new Tundra to bomb in the marketplace.  It would be great to see GM and Ford come out with best in class products that put Toyota to shame.    I would love to see Toyota's new plant in Texas scaled back over time because lack of demand for the Tundra.  If this does not happen, then the truck market will slowly become like the car market is today and GM and Ford will continue to shrink.

Mark

one nice thing for toyota is if they do need to scale back production, they don't have the albatross of handicapping labor contracts to work around. they can cut cut cut all they want.

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You make some good points my friend...But things are different now.

The new Silverado will be much better. That I know.

But the Tundra will still steal sales...if in the fact it is nothing more than the tundra

just being different...

And the truck market is changing, right before your eyes. Loyalties are not as important as they used to be. That, gas prices, along with other issues are

making things much different than just a few years ago.

You bring up the Titan...but it was way too hyped...even though it wasn't a bad truck. Nissian was very unprepared..they did their own thing, and well, you see where that went.

Before you say the Tundra is not much better, you may want to drive it first.

That's how I plan to decide.

Well, almost anyways/ :spin:

You know what they say about looks.... :P

*me running from tundra* :lol:

THough I would still like to drive it first..to see how it stacks up.......

I understand, and yes its hard to have a sensible opinion without driving both. Hell, I havent even seen the new Silverado. But this is one segment where GM and Ford are king. And no one else is even remotely close. So it's going to be hard pressed to say the this new Tundra will steal market share. Whats not to say that the new Silverado will not REGAIN market share from the Tundra, Titan, F-150 and Ram? Lets face it, the Silverado was snubbed by a lot of buyers for its lower stance and crummy interior. So when the new one comes out, wouldn't it be safe to assume that it will once again be considered with the upper level of the truck stratosphere? Or maybe we will see when the TOTY competitions are held, and see which one comes out on top. Because even that makes me nervous. The Silverado could be incredible but the magazines would not hesitate to pull the trigger on the opportunity to make a Toyota beat a flagship GM vehicle at its own game. And what kind of publicity would THAT be for GM. I think loyalties are not as strong as they used to be in the car segment (look at Cadillac. Standard of the world before, now its trying to regain its former glory). But I still think brand loyalty in trucks is as strong as ever. Trucks, unlike cars, are more "Tried and true". We'll see later on in the year though, and am still waiting to figure out when the Silverado will debut? If they're making us wait this long...it has to be good.

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:fryingpan: it looks like someone did that to the front of this thing and then went muy loco :banghead: the green house is horrid, and is anyone else noticing how wide that b pillar is

oh and please dont even get me started on the interior!

i actually liked the old double cab tundras but my god the f :censored: ed this up

when the new silverados and tundras hit the streets the toyotas will be :pokeowned:

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To me it looks like it has the front of a Ram, the roofline of a Titan, and the overall proportions of an F-150.  The interior is hideous as well.

I agree, the outside does tend to rip off of some other trucks, but that isn't as offensive as the inside. I am REALLY starting to dislike Toyota and Nissan designs. They are all starting to look like the cars of the "future". Which isn't a good thing. Honda is starting to show this in their new Civic too. The big 2.5 are starting to show some MAJORLY superior styling to these "trend setters".

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It'll steal some sales, that's expected from anything new to the market. Even if a new truck comes out by some brand that no one's ever heard of and it sucks, it'll still steal some sales. I think the truck market will soon be overly saturated like the car market is today...

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