?Toyota Tundra Demise? Premature, Indeed!
Speculation is just that…a rumor.
Talk that Toyota is planning to discontinue its big Tundra pickup truck are premature, at least that is the thinking of analysts with Left Lane News, Tundra Headquarters and Auto Trends. All three have reported that Toyota has visited the issue of discontinuing the Tundra, but agree that when 2014 rolls around a new Tundra is likely to surface.
The Toyota Tundra has fallen far short of sales expectations, but there are several good reasons for that including:
No Diesel Option — Unlike Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge Ram, the market leaders, Toyota does not offer a diesel option with its pickup truck. That puts it at a disadvantage especially where fleet operators are concerned. Diesels are more fuel efficient and better at pulling loads than gas engines, something not lost on American truck buyers.
American Dedication — A significant number of Tundra buyers are previous Toyota owners, many of whom have upgraded from the Tacoma. Brand loyalty amongst Ford, GMC, Chevrolet and Dodge truck owners runs deep with very small amounts of people willing to give up their truck brands in favor of something new.
Japanese Competition — Though not much of a competitor, as long as Nissan offers the Titan, don’t look for Toyota to drop the Tundra. Toyota simply does not back out of a segment and certainly won’t cede sales to a Japanese rival. Though Honda’s Ridgeline is built on a car chassis, it too presents competition for Toyota. If the Ridgeline and Titan stay in production, Toyota will keep the Tundra and find a way to put a diesel engine underneath the hood.
Sequoia SUV — If Toyota discontinues its Sequoia SUV, built on the Tundra chassis, then the Tundra’s demise could be around the corner. The Sequoia’s demise seems likely or at least the big SUV could transition to a modified car chassis much in the same way Ford has moved its Explorer to a crossover model. Certainly, Toyota could build the Tundra without the Sequoia, but if Tundra sales continue to fall justifying the big truck would be nearly impossible to do.
Gas prices and tougher fuel economy restrictions can also contribute to any decision Toyota makes about the Tundra. If the 2014 model does arrive, it could be lighter and feature a V-6 engine in addition to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. If not, Toyota could be limited by customer demand as well as by government mandate when it comes to the Tundra, rendering the next model dead on arrival.