Diesel Toyota Tundra Info

Here’s the latest info on the diesel version of the Toyota Tundra:

When we talk about a “diesel Tundra” we are speaking about two different vehicles.

  • One is a half-ton Tundra (the current model) with a diesel engine. This is the “light-duty diesel.”
  • The other is a Heavy Duty (HD) Tundra with a much larger diesel engine. This is the HD diesel Tundra.

As of September, 2013, here is where things stand:

1. Originally, Toyota planned to release a diesel version of the half-ton Tundra in 2009 as a 2010 model. However, a slow-down in the truck market in 2008 caused Toyota to delay the Tundra diesel indefinitely.

2. The slow-down in the truck market in 2008 also caused Toyota to delay the Heavy Duty Tundra diesel, originally planned for 2011 or 2012 and now delayed indefinitely.

3. Toyota sources have stated to us that a light duty diesel Tundra will not be considered until the 2016 or 2018 model years (if at all).

4. News of co-operation between Toyota and Ford to design a hybrid F150 / hybrid Toyota Tundra┬áhas cast further doubt on the likelihood of a diesel Tundra pickup – hybrid powertrains are very expensive to develop, and Toyota has limited funds to invest in Tundra R&D.

5. Recent pickup truck fuel economy and emissions regulations further reduce the likelihood of Toyota selling a diesel Tundra, mostly because the emissions rules make it very, very difficult for diesels to pass a smog test without thousands of dollars of expensive equipment.

Here’s a chronology of events:

August, 2006 – At a dealer meeting in San Antonio, Toyota tells dealers that the next-generation Tundra will be offered in a 3/4 ton (HD) version. Toyota also tells dealers to expect a diesel version of the truck.

September, 2007 – Toyota VP Kazuo Okamoto indicates that the Tundra will be the first US vehicle Toyota offers to receive a diesel engine (link). We predict a diesel Tundra featuring the 4.5L Australian diesel is likely.

October, 2007 – Toyota debuts a dually version of the Tundra (shown below) with a 8.1L HINO diesel at SEMA. Rumors of both a Heavy Duty (HD) diesel Tundra and a light duty diesel Tundra continue.

Tundra Diesel Dually shown at 2007 SEMA show.

Tundra Diesel Dually shown at 2007 SEMA show.

December, 2007 – Based on comments from Toyota execs, the amount of evidence, and comments from sources, we predict that Toyota will release a light-duty diesel in 2009. Sadly, we were mistaken. (link)

January, 2008 – Jim Lentz, at the time President of Sales for Toyota USA, announces that Toyota will not build a hybrid Tundra. Instead, they will focus on building an efficient diesel version of the Tundra. (link) This further confirms the likelihood of a light duty diesel Tundra.

May, 2008 – Edmunds.com reports that Toyota will release the light-duty diesel Tundra in 2009 as a 2010 model, echoing our earlier prediction (link). Edmunds.com further reports the diesel will be an Americanized version of Toyota’s 4.5L diesel currently in use in Australia.

4.5L Toyota Diesel

4.5L Toyota Diesel

July, 2008 – Facing slumping sales, Toyota consolidates all Tundra production in San Antonio. As a result, we predict the HD Tundra is tabled indefinitely. (link)

September, 2008 – In a shocking about-face, Toyota indefinitely delays the light duty 4.5L Tundra diesel. We are stunned (and disappointed). (link)

November, 2008 – Despite the fact that Toyota does not have any plans to produce an HD Tundra at any point in the immediate future, Toyota continues to show off the dually Tundra concept truck.

December, 2008 – A general collapse of the North American automotive market triggers a massive decline in pickup truck sales. Ford, GM, Ram, and Toyota all back off of plans to bring out new features, etc., until truck market recovers.

August, 2009 – Indian automaker Mahindra promises to begin selling a mid-sized pickup with a diesel engine, and industry momentum seems to build towards light-duty diesel trucks (link).

September, 2009 – At Texas State Fair, Toyota executives confirm that a diesel version of the Tundra is at least 3 years away.

July, 2010 – While giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal, a Toyota executive confirms that the 2014 Tundra is under development. However, there is no mention of a diesel powertrain. (link)

July 2011 – In an interview with Automotive News, a senior Toyota executive explains that Toyota has difficulty investing in the Tundra until sales volumes meet the initial expectation set when Toyota redesigned the Tundra in 2007. (link)

August 2011 – Rumors of future products from Ford, GM, Ram, and Toyota begin to fly. However, sources continue to tell TundraHeadquarters that there are no plans for diesel Tundra. (link)

February 2012 – As news continues to pour in on the upcoming 2014 Tundra, Toyota sources offer no news of diesel Tundra.

September 2013 – An Edmunds.com reporter got a Toyota executive to say that they are looking at a Cummins diesel engine. This follows news that Nissan will offer one in a new Titan. While the buzz has grown, there is nothing to suggest this will actually happen.

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