Carmagazine.com words & pictures by Mike Torch
In an intrepid move in 1999, Toyota set its sights on the half-ton truck market in the U.S., fearlessly taking on the Detroit Three in their own backyard. While the strategy has since seen mixed results, the biggest automaker in the world continues to chip away at this enormous customer base.
Business for large pick-up trucks in America is simply massive. For as long as we can remember, almost every year the best-selling vehicle in this country has been a traditional American pick-up.
While big Toyota trucks have a loyal following in the US, the Japanese car maker has barely scratched the surface in this particular market segment. To an ambitious car company this spells opportunity.
In 2015, Toyota's small truck market entrant, the Tacoma, ended up with an impressive 68% of U.S. sales, and together with the Tundra, the two vehicles were nicely positioned with 18% of the truck market as a whole.
Toyota equates this boon for its small truck to the fact that many other manufacturers dropped theirs, and the opening in this arena was there for them to fill. As part of their marketing strategy, the car maker is using its Tacoma sales to gain acceptance into the larger truck marketplace.
With half-ton trucks currently being the fastest growing category for new vehicle sales, coupled with the trend of increasing numbers of customers using a single vehicle for both work and personal use, the two facts together aided in Toyota's decision to invest heavily in the new Tundra's success.
The new Tundra was designed and engineered in the U.S., and all are built at the company's plant in Texas. The engines are manufactured in Alabama, and the transmissions are made in North Carolina.
Tundra has a total of five different grades of the new truck available, with three engine choices, and three cab variants.