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.
Do you need to keep a gun in your Tundra within easy reach? For your sake, I hope the answer is “No.”
However, if the answer is “yes”, here’s a quick and easy gun mounting tip for you.
Regardless of your political leanings or environmental beliefs, we can all agree that government regulations are often imperfect. The newest CAFE regulations – which mandate a dramatic improvement in new vehicle fuel economy ratings over the next 12 years – are a great example.
Regulators, in an effort to:
- reduce national oil consumption (a good thing considering most of our oil comes from foreign countries), and
- reduce air pollution (also a good thing, at least if you like to breathe as much as I do)
have created a system that is forcing automakers to use every trick in their bag to try and meet this fuel economy mandate. While some of these tricks are admittedly awesome (direct injection, variable valve lift, stop-start systems), other tricks are less desirable…which brings me to skinny tires, thin plastic panels, and the 2014 Tundra.
This week marks the beginning of serious negotiations between the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) and the domestic* manufacturers Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat. Unlike the UAW, which agreed to a series of concessions during the automotive bail-out, the CAW has been able to maintain roughly the same type of rules that the UAW used to have prior to 2009. Specifically:
- CAW workers are all paid the same wage; UAW workers are on a two wage tier system where newer workers make less than older workers
- CAW workers do not have any profit sharing; UAW workers rely upon profit sharing bonuses
These two mechanisms – two tier wages and profit sharing – are essential to the success of the UAW and the automakers they work for. Yet for some reason, the Canadian autoworkers don’t feel that they need to follow the same set of rules that the American autoworkers follow. If the CAW doesn’t concede, the risk is that automakers will simply abandon Canadian production in the next decade or so…and the CAW will cease to exist.
*I say “domestic” only because that’s what these manufacturers are commonly known as. In truth, they build a substantial portion of their vehicles, powertrains, etc. in Mexico.
In 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Toyota Tundra was recognized by Cars.com as either the most “American” truck on the market or the 2nd most American truck, meaning that the Tundra was built in the USA using the highest percentage of domestic parts compared to any other pickup. Ford, GM, and Ram (aka Chrysler-Fiat) didn’t always have a truck that qualified in these years because at least 30% – and sometimes 50% – of many F-series, Ram, and GM trucks used parts that came from outside the USA.
UPDATE – I over-reached here and made a mistake in the paragraph above (corrections are in green). The F150 was the most American truck in 2008 and 2009, but it fell off the list in 2010 and 2011. The Ram was “most American” in 2010, but that’s a bit of a misnomer, as Cars.com excluded regular cab Ram trucks that year (which are built in Mexico) for reasons that just aren’t logical to me. The Ram never deserved to win this award considering they build trucks in Mexico.
Still, this post is factually mistaken and generally wrong. My apologies.
However, in 2012, Ford won the Cars.com Most American Truck award. For the first time since 2007, the F-150 has 75% domestic content, which is the minimum threshold for consideration. The Tundra (which also has 75% domestic content), is the 2nd most American truck on the market in 2012 because it doesn’t sell as well as the F150.
Considering that Ford is an American company, and considering that every 2012 F150 is assembled in either Dearborn, Michigan or Missouri, it’s about damn time that Ford won this award. The question is, where are GM and Ram?
Diesel engines are superior to gas engines in a few critical ways:
- Diesel engines are more efficient due to the thermodynamic benefits of their higher compression ratios
- They’re much more durable – diesel engines commonly run 2-3 times longer than a comparable gas engine
- They put out more torque for any given RPM than a similarly sized gas engine, meaning that a tiny little diesel engine can power a small car very efficiently (Ford’s euro-spec Fiesta diesel gets 60+ mpg with a 1.6L motor)
Point #1 and #3 are very important, as they are the main reasons that diesels are so popular around the world. In Europe, for example, about 50% of the vehicles (be they tiny little commuter cars or big trucks) are powered by diesel. Considering that the average cost of fuel in most Western European countries ranges between $6-8 per gallon (1.27-1.72 euros per liter), the fuel economy benefits of diesel engines make them a very popular option.
Yet in the United States, diesel vehicles are barely 5% of the market. Why? What is it about diesels that people in the USA dislike?
The answer? Emissions rules, the “carbon penalty,” and a myriad of other smaller issues keeps diesels from selling. What follows is an attempt to explain – comprehensively – why diesels don’t (and probably won’t ever) sell at any substantial volumes in the USA.