Toyota Officially Delays Tundra Diesel Light Duty
Update: Read the complete story of the diesel Tundra
Despite our complete disbelief and our challenge of the original PickupTrucks.com report, Toyota exec Don Esmond (a senior VP) was officially quoted as saying “We’ve pushed back the [Tundra diesel] until we can figure out where the market is going.” Kudos to PickupTrucks.com Mike Levine for confirming his earlier report on the record.
Has Toyota made a smart move, or is this decision an error in judgment?
- Ford, GM, and Dodge have all announced plans to offer 150(0)’s with diesel engines in the next 18-24 months. Based on this announcement Toyota will be the only serious half-ton truck manufacturer without a diesel. Toyota has made great strides to be considered “one of the big-boys” in the truck business, yet this announcement surrenders truck leadership to the domestics and drains momentum.
- Toyota has already broadcast their intention to delay the HD Tundra for a few years. This move seemed wise at the time – especially with the Tundra LD diesel on the way – but now it looks as if Toyota is surrendering the HD segment to the domestics as well.
- As we discussed here a few months ago, the cost-benefit analysis of a light-duty diesel Tundra depends greatly on the price premium for the diesel engine. Toyota probably can’t sell too many Tundra’s with diesel engines unless they can get the diesel engine price increase to less than $2000. Considering the complexity of a modern diesel, that price range might not have been feasible. Yet, somehow, the domestic truck manufacturers have yet to back off their plans to produce half-ton diesel trucks. Is Toyota unable to match the diesel engine pricing of GM, Ford, and Dodge?
- The analysis from PickupTruck.com says that Toyota didn’t think they could sell enough diesel Tundra trucks to make a profit, with fuel prices being cited as part of the reason for lower sales. Yet Ford and Dodge both have a mountain of evidence to indicate that new truck sales have likely hit bottom. This would seem to agree with common sense – after all, trucks are still necessary equipment for a lot of Americans. If truck sales are likely to increase, why freeze development?
Toyota’s decision to pause the release of the 4.5L Tundra diesel was likely based on nothing more than accounting. It doesn’t make sense from a product development standpoint, and when Ford, GM, and Dodge enjoy strong sales of the 150(0) diesel trucks, Toyota will have to look back on this decision and wonder why they allowed accountants to build vehicles.
At least we can expect an updated Tundra next year…