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Believe it or not, they still build the Toyota Tacoma. And like other formerly-compact compact trucks, it’s been neglected for some time now: 2005 was the last major redesign.
But according to Ward’s Automotive, Marty McFly can lust after a new Toyota truck as soon as this year. Toyota division chief Bob Carter told Ward’s Auto that details of the new Tacoma will come “later this year.” Expect the new Tacoma to sway even further from Toyota’s line of small pickups, if the rest of the moribund compact pickup segment is any indication.
Toyota is launching its “100 Cars for Good” program, where the company will donate 100 cars to various non-profit groups. Facebook users will choose which groups will receive the vehicles via a voting process.
The winning organizations will get to choose from a selection of vehicles, including the Prius, Tacoma, Tundra, Highlander Hybrid, Sienna or Sienna Mobility. The vehicles will also come with a six year, 100,000 mile service contract that will cover vehicle repairs after the warranty period has expired.
With the Ford Ranger having left the building, General Motors is capitalizing on the death of a legend by going full steam ahead with the development of their next compact pickups, which will replace the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
While the Ranger will be sold in markets across the globe, save for the United States, the GM twins will be developed as a world platform, with General Motors leveraging the expertise of their divisions in Thailand, which is a significant market for small trucks. Of course, the trucks will have to be built Stateside, since imported trucks are subject to extraordinary duties thanks to the infamous “chicken tax“.
Of course, Toyota and Nissan still make a compact truck, but we can see the appeal of a domestic alternative for a large section of the market. GM had originally planned to kill off their small truck twins, but the recent change of events seems to have made them re-consider their plans.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently implemented a revised test procedure for it’s 5-star New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) vehicle safety rating system and now, has issued results conducted with four 2011 model year pickup trucks – the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tacoma.
NHTSA’s new NCAP test results are calculated using the probabilities of injury in determining frontal, side and rollover ratings, but now incorporate different sized dummies for more ‘accurate’ measuring and a new side impact ‘pole test’ as part of the program. The results of the crash tests are awarded ‘stars’ based on the ‘level’ of injury risk related to a defined average from those individual front, side and roll-over tests – five stars being the best above average, one star being the worst.
And based on those ratings, among the four trucks tested, the Silverado/Sierra scored the highest overall rating – earning an average ‘four-stars’ for occupant safety – including a 5-star award for driver frontal crash protection on extended cab models and five-stars for side impact testing – including the new pole test that simulates the impact of hitting a pole or tree at 20 mph, just behind the A-pillar. Rollover ratings were 4-stars on both trucks.
The Toyota Tacoma also received an overall ’4-star’ rating but didn’t fare as well as GM twins in frontal and side impact testing.
The 2011 Ram 4×4 garnered a 3-star safety rating largely due to average ratings in frontal driver and passenger protection and just a one-star rating in the new pole test, though interestingly, two-wheel drive Rams tested were awarded an overall NCAP rating of 4-stars.
NHTSA is the first to indicate that because of the changes in the new tests, like adding different sized dummies and the pole test, direct comparison between the 2011 and 2010 NCAP tests can’t be drawn, though it will be interesting to see how some of other pickups on the market will fare in the tests, particularly the current F-150 and the compact Ranger.
Toyota‘s Tacoma pickup is no stranger to being tinkered with by TRD, Toyota’s racing division. With previous special editions like the Prerunner and X-Runner finding success in the marketplace, TRD is introducing two new packages for Toyota’s smallest pickup.
The T|X and T|X Pro will be available on 2 or 4 wheel drive Tacoma Prerunner models with 2 or 4 doors and the TRD Offroad package. 16″ TRD alloy wheels, BF Goodrich tires, tubular side steps, a stainless steel exhaust tip and special graphics comprise the $1,699 T|X Package, a $754 savings compared to ordering each option as a separate component.
The T|X Pro Package costs the same amount but also adds a TRD cat-back exhaust, which makes it the obvious choice in our eyes. The fact that all modifications are covered under a factory warranty makes these packages all the more enticing rather than hitting up the local auto parts store.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Given all the hoopla surrounding Toyota and its publicized recalls, it probably isn’t surprising that many products, including the Tacoma are essentially marking time. But in an effort to standardize quality and production processes, Toyota has moved Tacoma production to the same Texas plant that builds the Tundra.
The above picture shows a pilot batch of new 2011 Tacomas undergoing final checks at TMMTI (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas Inc.) – production versions began rolling off the line last week and will shortly be shipping to dealers. The only noticeable change is a simpler grille pattern with a single, center mounted bar, as opposed to the twin bar design found on 2010 models. The design is a carry-over from the new 2010 4Runner. A flexible manufacturing process at the Texas plant now allows both Tacomas and Tundras to roll down the line back to back if necessary in response to consumer demand.
And with the demise of the Ford Ranger and the GMC twins, the Tacoma and Nissan Frontier will be the only remaining true pickups on the market not classed as full-size trucks, giving them a chance to acquire more customers in the segment. However as much as the Tacoma has received acclaim for its engineering features and capability, it’s relatively high price continues to be sore point among a segment of truck buyers.
Toyota recalled a number of trucks in Japan for a defective steering column but chose to wait nearly a year before recalling them in North America, despite a series of complains in the United States regarding the issue. The revelation comes on the heels of a $16.4 million fine imposed by the U.S. government as punishment for Toyota delaying the recalls of millions of vehicles over accelerator pedals that stick open unintentionally.
The latest recall involves a defective steering column, and failure could lead to the driver being unable to steer the vehicle and turn its wheels. Toyota initially claimed that the recall was issued in Japan because driving conditions put more strain on the affected parts and denied that there was an issue in North America. However the Associated Press investigated the matter and found numerous complains to Toyota’s customer service, legal and warranty department. The National Highway Traffics Safety Association has linked the defect to 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries.
[Source: Automotive News]
Tacoma pickup was not included in recent 2.3 million vehicle recall for sticking accelerator pedals
Along with two major recalls, one for Floor Mat Entrapment and another for Sticking Accelerator Pedals, a Federal government committee will investigate whether other models, including the Toyota Tacoma and Prius, might be in need of recalls.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100 complaints have bee made by Toyota Tacoma owners related to issues of unintended acceleration. The Tacoma, however, uses a Denso pedal assembly and not the CTS Corp. pedal assembly found in the 2.3 million recalled models for Sticking Accelerator Pedals. CTS Corp. is based in Indiana, while Denso pedal assemblies are manufactured in Japan.
The Ministry of Transportation has said it will look at whether the problem of sudden acceleration is electronic and not mechanical.
“What explains the seemingly high number of complaints in NHTSA’s database regarding sudden acceleration in this model?” the committee asked. “Is it Toyota’s opinion that most of these can be explained by driver error, erroneous reporting, or faulty floor mats?”
“Has Toyota examined the possibility that the sudden acceleration problems are not caused by the floor mats or gas pedal in some models, but by problems with the electronic sensors or the computer system which govern the accelerator? Is Toyota confident that the electronics are not involved in this problem?”
Toyota has continually denied that the issue is electronic, saying in a statement that, “After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system. If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”
The committee will also look at the 2010 Toyota Prius as a candidate for a recall, after the Japanese Ministry of Transportation asked Toyota to investigate complaints from owners for potentially faulty brakes.
The committee has asked Toyota North American president, Yoshimi Inaba to answer several questions ahead of a Feb 10th hearing, which has been titled, “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?”
[Source: Detroit News]