Next-Gen Tundra a Top Priority for Toyota
An all-new Camry launched in the middle of 2017, a redesigned RAV4 crossover in nigh and engineers are hard at work on the next-generation Corolla. With these cornerstone products squared away, Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup is next in line for an overhaul.
“I don’t think there’s [a] much higher priority than that,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division. With Ram, Chevrolet and Ford continuing to introduce new trucks and groundbreaking features, the Japanese powerhouse had better be hard at work on something revolutionary if it hopes to keep pace with the Detroit Three.
“Tundra has been out for plenty of time so we’re looking at what the new one would look like,” said Hollis. This means that more than likely the next-generation model is deep in development right now, though he would not indicate exactly when a redesigned version of this tough truck might debut.
But for Toyota, quality and dependability are always top priorities; they’re likely in no hurry to launch some slapdash effort. Building on this nameplate’s laudable reputation, the new model will almost certainly be built to last. And it’s got some big shoes to fill. Back in 2016, they highlighted a one-owner Tundra that had been driven in excess of a million miles, all with minimal repairs, a distance that equates to more than 40 laps around the earth’s equator.
Musing, Hollis asked, “How do we take that million miles, that ability to produce a product like that and take it to the new one?” It can’t be a simple task.
Stepping one rung down the ladder, even though Toyota’s midsize Tacoma is getting on in years and the Tundra is a senior citizen at this point people are still buying these rigs in impressive numbers. “We’ve been well behind the demand,” said Hollis. “Our dealers can’t wait to have more of the trucks.”
With strong demand, don’t look for a new Tacoma in the near-term. “We are looking at midcycle enhancements, no doubt, but you will not see either of those in ’18,” said Hollis.
Even though Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas plant, home of the Tacoma and Tundra, is still running beyond 100 percent capacity, the company just opened a new assembly facility in Baja California, Mexico. It will have the ability to assemble some 40,000 more Tacomas per year, taking pressure off San Antonio. This could free up capacity to build more Tundras, assuming demand remains strong.
Looking beyond these established models, the company revealed an intriguing new design study at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC) is a rugged-looking off-roader with a hybrid drivetrain, one that Hollis indicated will likely make it to showrooms.
He brought up the brand’s popular FJ Cruiser, which debuted in concept form more than 10 years ago. “Customer feedback was so strong, what did we do? Got the product out in about two years that looked almost identical to the product we brought out on stage,” said Hollis. “I would put FT-AC in a similar boat.”
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Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
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