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.
This news is a little old, but it’s good to hear: Toyota is oficially ramping up production of the 2010 Tundra.
Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Division, said, “We see a turnaround coming.” The company will therefore increase North American production by 65,000 units over the previous plan for the three-month period. Toyota will increase the production of six of its most popular models: the Camry, Corolla, Sienna, RAV4, Tacoma, and Tundra.
The question before us – how many of these “extra” 65k vehicles will be Tundras?
For years, casual observers of the auto industry were quick to point to the UAW as a source of trouble for GM, Chrysler, and Ford. Tales of do-nothing jobs banks and $70/hour compensation were the source of a popular disdain for the UAW and unions in general, and the UAW found it very difficult to attract new members in this climate.
Today, things are quite a bit different. While it says here that the UAW wasn’t perfect, anyone with a real knowledge of the auto industry will acknowledge that the UAW deserves only a part of the blame for the meltdown of GM and Chrysler. The fact is, terrible management, poor quality, and poor designs were the primary sources of GM and Chrysler failure.
The UAW hall in Bowling Green, Kentucky (pictured) might be the most important union battleground of the 21st century.
The good news for the UAW is that all of this is behind them now. The UAW is now more likely than ever to recruit Toyota, Honda, and Nissan workers over the next 2 to 5 years. Here’s why:
Toyota Tundra fans have been waiting on pins and needles for an “H.D. Tundra”, or heavy-duty Tundra, ever since Toyota announced they were working on a 3/4 ton Tundra back in 2005. Originally promised to follow soon after the light-duty Tundra (the current model), our sources are now saying that Toyota won’t be introducing an HD Tundra anytime soon…if at all.
That’s right – it’s far from certain that Toyota will ever produce a 3/4 or 1 ton Tundra. As of July 2008, we felt the HD Tundra was at least five years away. Today, we’re wondering if Toyota is ever going to produce a 3/4 or 1 ton Tundra. Perhaps the market for H.D. trucks is going to shrink so much that Toyota’s current light-duty truck is “heavy duty enough.”
In other words, what if Toyota is already producing the H.D. Tundra?
Plug-in electric cars are on the way. Both mainstream automakers and boutique brands are aiming to capitalize on the growing desire amongst drivers to wean themselves off gasoline. While gasoline / electric hybrids have been around for years, the idea of a pure electric vehicle – one which runs exclusively off of a battery and must be recharged by plugging in to a standard electrical socket – is for many the ultimate goal of the hybrid revolution.
While automakers are developing plug-in hybrids, it’s important to note that most of the plug-in hybrid vehicles being introduced are sedans and coupes – not trucks. Automakers have yet to embrace the concept of a plug-in pickup, and some green types are using this fact to argue that the days of big pickups are over. However, the fact is many people need a truck for work and/or their daily lives. So why haven’t automakers started producing plug-in pickups? It’s not size…at least not completely.
Pickups are big, and their larger dimensions might seem to be the reason that automakers aren’t producing hybrid versions. After all:
- Most hybrid electric vehicles on the market are small.
- It takes a more powerful electric motor to get a big pickup rolling.
However, size isn’t really the problem…kind of.
Toyota needs to stop being so damn conservative when it comes to the Tundra. Since 2007, Toyota has built a truck that can stand toe-to-toe with the best that Ford, GM, and Dodge had to offer. Never before has Toyota offered a truck with so much capability at such a great value. Consumers responded strongly to the new Tundra in 2007, and that response stayed strong through the debut of the TRD supercharger in 2008. After that, enthusiasm started to sputter. Toyota started out winning the battle for the hearts and minds of truck owners, but then they pulled back. What gives?
While it’s easy to blame a downturn in the truck market (and aggressive incentives from struggling domestic rivals) for the Tundra’s loss of momentum, the problem is deeper than that. The problem, plain and simple, is Toyota’s poor management of the development of the Tundra. Here’s what they’ve done wrong: