Jason Lancaster is the editor and founder of TundraHeadquarters.com. He has nearly a decade of dealership experience buying, selling, and maintaining vehicles, and much of that time was spent working at Ford and Toyota dealerships.
Based on our sales projections, Toyota will sell approximately 205k Tundra trucks this year. That’s more than a 60% increase in sales over 2006. Clearly, the Tundra has been an unmitigated success for Toyota.
Toyota’s success doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. The upcoming 2008 model Tundra should sell better than the current model for a few reasons. First of all, Toyota has stated they intend to reduce the amount of standard equipment on the Tundra, especially on the base model. We expect the base model Tundra will be approximately $2000 less expensive, while the top-end models will maintain the same pricing. Reduced cost on the base model should translate into greater fleet sales of the new Tundra, a market that Toyota currently is not competitive in with the 2007 model.
Additionally, Toyota’s 2007 production management was less than perfect. Dealers were often given trucks that weren’t in demand and then required to sell those vehicles before they would be allocated better-selling models. Indeed, many a dealer we know received a glut of “fleet” type vehicles early in the model year even as demand for the popular Double Cab exceeded supply, to say nothing of CrewMax production holdups. Now that Toyota has some hard sales data, they will be able to improve their production mix.
Based on improved production mix and lower production costs, we expect Tundra sales in 2008 to exceed 250k units. Depending upon Toyota’s ability to reduce costs on their base model “fleet” configuration, it’s entirely possible that Tundra sales could hit 300k units, however new models from Ford and Dodge will certainly impact Toyota Tundra sales somewhat.
Here’s what the letters and numbers in your Tundra’s VIN number represent:
FIRST THREE CHARACTERS:
The first three characters of your Tundra’s VIN number indicate where your truck was built.
The fourth character of your Tundra’s VIN indicates the body type.
J – Reg. Cab 2WD
K – Reg. Cab 4WD
L – Reg. Cab 2WD Long Bed
M – Reg. Cab 4WD Long Bed
R – Double Cab 2WD
S – Double Cab 2WD Long Bed
B – Double Cab 4WD
C – Double Cab 4WD Long Bed
E – CrewMax 2WD
D – CrewMax 4WD
The fifth character of your Tundra’s VIN indicates the engine.
U = 4.0L V6
T = 4.7L V8
V = 5.7L V8
SIXTH, SEVENTH, & EIGHTH CHARACTERS:
The 6th, 7th, and 8th characters in the VIN indicate the trim level of the truck.
521 = Base
541 = SR5
581 = LTD
The 9th character in the VIN is used as a check digit.
The 10th character in your truck’s VIN is the model year. It’s either a number or letter, depending upon the decade. For 2007, it’s the number “7”. However, in 1997, it was a “V”.
The 11th character indicates the final assembly point.
S – Indiana
X – Texas
LAST SIX CHARACTERS:
The last six numbers of the VIN are used by Toyota to uniquely identify your vehicle, sort of like a serial number. However, these numbers do not appear to be sequential or numerically significant. Toyota seems to have a unique system for numbering cars – they don’t seem to be marking them 000001, 000002, 000003, etc.
Glenn sent us this note, and we think every Tundra owner should know about this. Thanks Glenn for taking the time to share.
Here’s Glenn’s story:
I put my tailgate down on my 07 Tundra Crewmax, and forgot about it being down, as I was involved in something that diverted my attention away from the open tailgate. I drove away not realizing it was still down. As I went down the street and over a bump in the road, I heard some banging, so I pulled over only to find my tailgate hanging from the support strap wires, and slapping against the back of the truck! Thankfully, I found a place to pull over immediately, and that I had all the windows, including the window facing the bed down, so I could hear it. Both tail light lenses are now damaged, but luckily, the tailgate itself and the bumper do not seem to be damaged much, except for minor paint damage on the inside of the tailgate. At least not that I can tell at this point.
Page 35 of the operators manual says, “Notice: Avoid driving with the tailgate open”. That is all it says. I had never seen this Notice before, but even if I had, I would not have expected that the entire tailgate could come off the hinges and bang against the back of the truck. I would have taken that Notice to mean that a rock could chip the paint of the tailgate if it were driven in the down position, or some damage could come to the tailgate if towing and turning with the gate down.
Doesn’t this sound like a serious design flaw? Well, not according to Toyota Customer service over the phone. First, there is this “Notice” (No actual warning of possible danger or damage), which tells you to avoid the operation, but does not tell you not to do it at all, or what could happen if you do. Second, there is no safety device that keeps the gate attached to the hinge point. Even a simple twist lock, a safetying pin, or a single securing screw would be beneficial, but none exists. If the safety straps were not connected, or failed and the tailgate were to fall off, it could bounce up into a car behind you and kill someone. If left to bang long enough, it is a real possibility that a failure of the straps could occur resulting in a slab of metal as a projectile at highway speeds.
We don’t want to hear anyone saying “you shouldn’t drive with the tailgate down” either. This is something people do all the time (like when they’ve got an ATV or dirt bike in the bed) — besides, who hasn’t forgotten to close their tailgate at least once? How mad would you be if both your tail lenses were broken because you forgot to put the tailgate up?
With great regret and embarrassment, we’ve just determined that our last software update resulted in the “Contact Us” form functioning improperly. Any messages you’ve sent us via Contact Us form since September 8th were not received. If you’ve sent us a message and you haven’t gotten a response, please send it again.
Sorry we lost your messages — Jason the admin/I.T. guy/main writer/designated email responder will use more care when updating the site’s software.
When we received Toyota’s response to our bed bounce email we realized a few things. In no particular order, here’s what we think:
1. Toyota can’t officially acknowledge the problem until they’re prepared to act.
2. Until the current owner community publicizes the problem, Toyota has no reason to acknowledge it.
3. There is no independent data to verify the size, scope, and severity of this problem.
We decided the best way to make Toyota acknowledge the problem (and therefore do something about it) is to gather some hard data. To that end, we’ve created a Toyota Tundra Owners Bed Bounce Survey. The results of the survey will be published on an ongoing basis once we’ve received enough responses to create some statistically significant data.
In order to make sure the data we gather is accurate, we’re going to verify owner responses a few different ways. First, we’ve got a VIN number checker that will make sure the VIN number entered is accurate and is comparable to the stated equipment on the vehicle. Second, we’re going to verify your email address by sending you a quick note. Third, we’ve got some measures in place to keep people from entering multiple surveys, etc. Hopefully all of these efforts will deter anyone intent on entering false info.
Just so we’re clear — your name, email, and VIN number are for verification purposes only. We’re not going to share this info with anyone, ever, under any circumstance. We’re not going to use your info for marketing purposes or mailing lists or any of that business — we just want to get an accurate picture of Tundra Bed Bounce that we can share with the community. Your responses will be tabulated and published on an ongoing basis.
So, in summary, if you or anyone you know has experienced “bed bounce” with their new Tundra, please complete our Tundra Bed Bounce Survey. If you’ve never experienced bed bounce, please don’t complete a survey. We’re only collecting data from people that have actually experienced the problem so we can determine the severity, frequency, and geographic location. We intend to provide all this information to the public
Finally, if you or anyone you know hasn’t contacted Toyota’s customer service department, please consider doing so. You can send Toyota an email or call them at 800-331-4331 to make an official complaint. Making an official complaint increases the likelihood that Toyota will address the problem.
Tell everyone you know about this survey — we want to have as much data as possible the next time we contact Toyota.