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Tundra Golf in the Arctic Circle

Today, I’ve added a couple of links to the blogroll, including a nice FREE Consumer Reports page with Toyota reviews…not a bad find for an hours work.

While looking for other sites out there about the Toyota Tundra, I found a blog by “Doc” who lives in the Nunavut Territory, Canada. Evidently, they have another version of Tundra their that’s sometimes used for golf.

Here’s a link to the google map of Pond Inlet, Nunavut Territory, Canada (it’s at the top of the map), as far as I can tell Doc’s home city.

Some quick stats:

As of 2006, the city of Pond Inlet is the 8th largest in the Nunavut Territory with a population of 1,315 .

Pond Inlet is only accessible by water only 3 1/2 months a year, meaning most goods must be flown in by air.

Due to high transportation costs, a can of soda can cost as much as $4.50 (CA), depending upon the time of year.

The best way to get around is a snowmobile or four-wheeler.

Pond Inlet is a good place to see killer whale, polar bear, and icebergs.

WOW.

I can’t imagine living their…what would it be like? I don’t know how anyone does it, and I have great respect for the 1300 people that do.

Here’s the blog I found, Tundra Golf, with pictures of Port Inlet and the intrepid golfers that live their.

Tundra drops CD Player, adds recycled wire instead

Over the last few days, a couple of articles have caught my eye. The first describes a new kind of wire coating that has debuted on the new Toyota Tundra. The second article reports that Toyota is considering reducing features in the new Tundra in order to be more cost-competitive with the domestics. Seems like the problem is obvious to me…

First, the new wire coating. Developed by Delphi, the new wire coating has a thickness equivalent to two (2) pieces of paper. The material being used isn’t the standard PVC, but a new material derived mostly from recycled plastic. The big benefit to this new material is that it requires much less of it to sufficiently coat a wire, reducing the size and weight of the wiring in the vehicle. Also, because it’s created from recycled plastics, it’s better for the environment. Pretty slick stuff.

Knowing Toyota, this is probably a change they’ll make to all of their vehicles over the next few years. Toyota is committed to making the best vehicle on the road, and this new material will help both reduce weight and help the environment. You can read the Delphi press release for more info.

As for the second article, the words “jaw-dropping” come to mind. A little background: for years, we’ve read about domestic auto manufacturers removing standard features from their vehicles in order to cut costs. Manufacturers call it a “product realignment”, but what that really means is that the same vehicle is going to have less equipment than it did before but still cost the same. This practice was so wide-spread in the late 90’s that it received the moniker “decontenting”.

Imagine my shock when I read that the leading automotive company in the world, Toyota, was considering re-evaluating the standard options in the new Tundra. The VP of Operations for Toyota USA was quoted as saying “Unfortunately, we may have put a little too much content into it.” What the hell is going on??

The Toyota Tundra has so many nice features standard that it really gives it a leg up on the competition. The stability control system, the limited-slip differential, the 4.10 gears, the side curtain airbags, and even the CD player were all listed as “extra” equipment that might be eliminated. Who’d want to buy a truck without any of these options?

Fleet buyers. They don’t care about equipment, just the bottom line. So, because Toyota is having to offer rebates to move their lower-end trucks (which they’re building in order to hit 200k units this year), they’re thinking about reducing the standard equipment to lower their costs. This sounds EXACTLY like Detroit to me.

Build too many vehicles, offer rebates when they’re not selling fast enough, and then start to reduce equipment to get the money back.

Here’s a question…What if you took the space-age wire covering off the all the wires and just used good old PVC? How much would that save?

Toyota Tundra cruising downtown Denver

As you know, I got together with a local dealer this last weekend and took some photos of the new Tundra for the website. I also managed to get some video. The clip is super short, and kind of crude. I’m looking into why the quality is so low, but I think it’s due to the .wmv format used (youtube’s upload guide suggested I submit in an mpeg4 format). I am looking into why the editing software I have does not offer mpeg4 output (I think I have to pay extra).

In any case, if you want to see a short clip of the truck cruising about downtown denver, see the embedded link below.

YouTube Preview Image

One Note: I plan to take more videos in the future of the truck. I’m told that there will be a lifted, decked-out version of the truck that I will be able to spend some time with. If you have any suggestions or ideas for videos you’d like to see please let me know.

New Tundra Photos

The people up at Mountain States Toyota, in addition to helping sponsor my site, graciously met up with me in downtown Denver to take some photos of the new Tundra in front of some Denver landmarks. You can see the photos on flickr.com — they’re all tagged “tundrahq”. Or, click here.

Thanks again to Mountain States Toyota for letting me take pictures of their Tundra truck. I hope to get more photos of a new CrewMax Limited when one becomes available.

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