By on September 18, 2014

640px-2012_Toyota_Tacoma_--_10-19-2011

Toyota’s lone Mexican assembly plant will boost output by as much as 40 percent to increase production of the Tacoma mid-size pickup truck starting in April, 2015.

Automotive News is reporting that the Baja California plant, which handles final assembly duties from CKD kits, will produce 89,000 Tacomas annually, up from 63,000. The move comes as GM announced a third shift at the Missouri plant that builds the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size trucks, which have yet to go on sale.

The Tacoma is expected to be redesigned in 2016 to better compete with the GM mid-sizers. While Tacoma sales have been down year-to-date, the full-size Tundra has seen an increase, and moving production away from Toyota’s Texas truck plant could allow for more Tundras to be built to help satisfy demand.

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50 Comments on “Toyota Boosting Capacity To Crank Out More Tacomas...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Even if the Colorado/Canyon lands with a thud we all win.

    It was an incentive for Nissan and Toyota to update their both very aged trucks.

    You can still get a Tacoma with a 4-speed automatic transmission (admittedly a base stripper) – which is just ridiculous at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      “The Tacoma is expected to be redesigned in 2016”
      That would make it 12 years between updates. Nice truck, by 2004 standards, but how many times have the full sized trucks been updated since then?

      And a 4AT is a bit silly, when full sized trucks (with 8ATs) can get better fuel economy than the Tacoma. (For example: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/best-selling-cars-around-globe-coast-coast-2014-savannah-ga/)

      Even though modern full size trucks are arguably too big and bulky, it’s easy to see why the sensibly sized Tacoma is pretty much a niche vehicle these days.

      • 0 avatar
        MR2turbo4evr

        I’m not surprised the gas mileage is almost the same as the full-sized offerings. The Tacoma is almost as big and probably almost as heavy as the full-sized trucks.
        Why not keep the size closer to the 1st generation truck (’95-’04), or better yet the Toyota Pickup from ’84-’88)?
        My dad and I are currently fixing up a ’86 Toyota Pickup (mostly body work) and I wish I could buy something similar (but brand new) from Toyota these days. It’s small, light, and easy on gas. Yet it has a decent sized box to haul dirt bikes and other things around.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I recently had a Nissan Frontier as a rental upgrade. Pretty good little truck. For what they are, there is nothing inherently bad about the Tacoma and Frontier. The Frontier aged pretty well.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Oh no, there’s nothing inherently bad about the Taco or Frontier. I particularly like the clean-sheet design of the Nissan. But the full-sizes have just made so much progress in the time since then.
      A similar situation can be seen in quality: for the most part, Toyota didn’t get any lower in quality, it’s just that the Big 3 upped theirs from the nadir of the mid-80s.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “A similar situation can be seen in quality: for the most part, Toyota didn’t get any lower in quality, it’s just that the Big 3 upped theirs from the nadir of the mid-80s.”

        True, and unlike cars, Detroit pickups were never really terrible quality even during the dark days…

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Nope, because that’s the one thing that a pickup truck cannot be–unreliable. It can have a 0-60 time measured in minutes, it can return single-digit MPG, but if it doesn’t last at least 5 years without a mechanical problem there’s something wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Don’t get me wrong, I love the full-sizers. I like a big V8 probably more than the next guy.

            On the reliability note though, pickups are not paragons. The Ford 6.0L Powerstroke proved that.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            More than just that, it proved that the average truck buyer will trust a proven inefficient design over an unproven efficient one.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It sounds as if they’re shifting production away from Texas in order to increase Tundra production. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Tacoma total output will increase.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed. The redesigned Tundra is selling well (although I would argue that some of that increase is because of the lower ATP compared to the rest of the full-size truck class).

      An admitted focus group of one. Neighbor is a very loyal Toyota owner – had a Camry, Prius and Tundra in the driveway. Noticed a few days ago the Tundra (previous gen) is gone and…

      …a Ram quad cab is sitting in the driveway with paper plates.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        Some family friends have a 2003 Sienna, a 2010 Corolla, and a 1990 Toyota Truck. After one of the family members wrecked the dad’s (2006?) Corolla, the mom gave the 2010 to the daughter and bought herself a CR-V. In fact, the dad bought a 500 not long after. All they had before were Toyotas. I know some people who are loyal to specific cars (such as my neighbor who replaced her 2004 Odyssey EX with a 2014 Odyssey EX), but some people, like my family, don’t care.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Question about these 8 and 9 speed transmissions you keep hearing about: Wouldn’t those be much more mechanically complex? Wouldn’t these transmissions wear out faster because they’re constantly shifting? My last car was a 4 speed overdrive auto, and that was just fine…or for simplicity’s sake give me a 2 speed Powerglide.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      They do shift a lot and, yes, they can wear out.

      There’s less pressure-driven sensor stupidity, and more electronics, so on-balance they should be pretty reliable, but expensive when they break.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        As noted by a couple of Piston Slap articles on TTAC – modern transmissions are generally “throw away” units. If they have a catastrophic failure – replacement is usually easier, faster, and cheaper than attempt to repair.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I honestly can’t tell if you’re being obtuse or if you seriously believe a 2-speed Powerglide is superior to a 4-speed.

      The increased gears don’t necessarily mean a different shift pattern, just more gears on top. Chrysler’s new 9-speed might not ever hit the 2nd overdrive gear in normal driving.
      A 2-speed Powerglide works great if you don’t mind topping out at 55 mph. My current 4-speed auto hits a sweet spot at 62. Like it or not, today’s drivers have much higher expectations for what their cars can do.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Drzhivago138, older 4 and 5 speed automatic transmissions spent lots of time in their top gear without shifting. I think the question was if the automatic is shifting between 2 or more separate overdrive ratios during normal cruising, do the clutches associated with shifting between overdrive ratios experience more wear? The answer is probably yes, but we have no idea if the extra wear shortens vehicle life. For example, it’s not unusual for a well maintained engine to last 200k miles, but the clearcoat finish eventually starts to turn white and flake off after 12+ years in the sun. Given the paint starts to look ugly after about 180k miles, would an engine change that shortened engine life 10% to 180k miles but improved fuel economy 5% during that 180k life be a good tradeoff?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Absolutely all else being equal, you’re probably right.

      But, transmissions don’t just wear out by design. Instead, they are designed to last a very long time. But each of their constituent parts are built to certain tolerances. So that, if the stars align just wrong, the sum total is a transmission that wears out prematurely. One of the biggest advantages of computer technology’s entry into manufacturing, is that it has allowed precision to go way up, and tolerances way down. Not just in parts dimensions, but also in metallurgy, the composition of lubricants, the precision with which internal tempratures can be sustained etc… And with each “part” of the assembly being held to tighter tolerances, one can design more complex wholes without sacrificing statistic reliability.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Honestly I think the Tacoma is the best looking midsize in production, including globally.

    Update the interior and give it a modern drivetrain and it would be good.

    • 0 avatar
      tubacity

      Tacoma rides rough. Maybe that is supposed to make it “trucky”. But many trucks are driven as cars often. Others ride better. Needs update for less rough ride. Modifiers are of course free to mod how they want.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The 2014 4×4 quad cab TRD model I test drove a few months ago struck me as perfectly civilized by truck/SUV standards, then again I drove over to the dealer in a 1996 4Runner so my standards are probably very different. I found the 2014 4Runner to be a bit too smooth and disconnected feeling, I wasn’t ‘one’ with the truck like I am with my old one. The Tacoma felt much more familiar in layout and driving characteristics to the older 4Runner, which itself shares much with the 1st gen Tacoma (95-04).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    89K Tacomas is about all Toyota can expect to sell in a year, now that the regular cabs are gone and new Colorado/Canyon competition.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. If a 10 year old, outdated Tacoma could sell 160k/year, a newer efficient one will sell even more. Regular cabs are only like 10% of Tacoma sales. Once discontinued about half will opt for an extended cab. There will be little cross shopping between the GM and Toyota midsize trucks. The buyer demographics are different plus truck buyers are fiercely loyal. There is a reason the little Toyota outsells the Tundra 2 to 1 even though the latter is far superior.

      I predict 180K/year for the Tacoma, 110K to 120K units for Colorado & Canyon combined and 50K/year for the Frontier.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The Tacoma basically has the whole midsize pickup market to itself, but you you expect its share to grow substantially once new completion arrives and they kill the only regular cab midsizer in existence?

        And what’s outdated about its interior? Is there a particular look they need? It’s a truck, not a BMW. Fierce loyalty can’t forgive a dash from 2007?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @DenverMike – you have this odd obsession with reg cab Tacoma trucks. Toyota doesn’t sell that many. If reg cab Tacoma’s were the cash cow you keep babbling on about then Toyota would of kept them around.

          If GM actually believed your cheapskate theory they would of offered the 2015 Colorado in a reg cab.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – I never said they were a “cash cow”. Regular cabs are a loss leader for midsize pickups. Except they sell too many of them and not enough of the crew cabs, fully loaded.

            What you’re seeing is OEMs getting fed up with taking a loss on regular cab midsizers. They assume most will step up to multi-cabs when they take away the regular cabs. We’ll have to wait and see.

            Keep in mind the Nissan Hard Body was about the #1 pickup in the US. Regular cab Hard Bodys are still absolutely everywhere. However, since Nissan killed off the regular cab, it lost tremendous market share. At one point, the King Cab Frontier was priced a couple $100 more than the reg cab Tacoma.

            And I don’t have to remind you of the dismal market share midsize trucks have in Canada, with no regular cabs offered. Tacoma sales generally fall somewhere between the Hyundai Sonata and Veloster, in Canada.

            Toyota can step up Tacoma production at its Tijuana plant, but now that’s its only Tacoma plant. 89,000 Tacomas is about all Toyota can realistically hope to sell in 2015. Possibly highly discounted too.

            And did you catch the part of “starting April, 2015”? That’s when they’re getting ready to go on summer break.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I’m with alluster on this one. Dealers have not been pushing Tacoma sales and haven’t had to at all since the demise of the GM/Ford/Dodge midsizers.

        I see GM loyalists buying GM’s new midsizers, but they may have been predisposed and inclined to do so to begin with for fanclub reasons and the belief that buying GM is a good thing, if it doesn’t kill you first.

        I doubt many current Tacoma drivers will leave the Toyota fold and defect to GM’s midsizers.

        The all-new Tacoma should also provide a welcome boost for Toyota’s bottom line. People who bought Tacoma years ago, along with those who ponied up for a T100, should just about be ready to retire those old reliable hulks and buy the best that Toyota has to offer in the mid-size pickup truck.

        I hope that ttac will continue to monitor this segment because this is where it is at for the majority of Americans and Canadians who want the utility of a truck but don’t want to spring for a full-sized one.

        But at least they have a choice now between Tacoma, Frontier and the GM midsize twins. And ultimately that is what it is all about: Choice!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    So are Tacomas built in Japan with final assembly in North America? Or what’s with the CKD kits? Do Tundras come here as CKDs too?

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Neither are built in Japan. In fact, no Toyota consumer trucks are built in Japan anymore. Baja was a secondary plant for the Tacoma, so the additional capacity will be achieved via shipping CKD kits from, I presume, the Texas plant suppliers and wherever the drive train bits are made.

      The Tundra is not built from CKD. North America is its only market, and it is assembled in San Antonio the same way as any other car or truck.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It just seems bizarre to tie up the San Antonio plant to almost complete the truck, just to finish it inkTijuana. Remember the 4Runner is made in Japan and would be more apt to share an assembly line than the completely different Tundra. It’s more likely the Tacomas built in San Antonio are from CKDs too.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @DenverMike – the 4Runner can be imported from Japan because it is classified as a car not a truck. The Japanese won the dispute having minivans and SUV’s reclassified as cars.

          Do you want me to re-post that link?

          you know the one……. the law review article that mentions what the chicken tax did to the truck market ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The ongoing pride that you take in your ignorance of inflation is quite astounding. You’re not even sharp enough to know that you should be embarrassed.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – I was talking about minivan and SUV reclassification dispute which was what the law article was about. The bit that shoots down your “tariffs has no effect” fantasy was part of that article. Obviously you never read it since you missed my point completely.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m actually embarrassed for you. You’re only proving my point for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @pch101 – how so?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Despite numerous explanations, you’re still clueless. Even posting an elementary YouTube video to explain a concept that high school kids should be able to understand soared far above your head.

            You still haven’t figured out that the real price of small trucks fell after the loss of the cab-chassis exemption. This may contradict your theories, but it is simply a fact.

            The manufacturers ate the difference; they were unable to pass on the rising costs due to inflation, let alone the cost of the tariff. Out in the real world, companies aren’t always able to pass on their costs.

            The market was too competitive and the price point of the market was too low to allow them to get the customer to pay for it. And it didn’t benefit the larger trucks, either; they didn’t get a lift as a result (unless you think that the Olds 88 or Pontiac Firebird are trucks.)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – I know why the 4Runner is exempt. Thank you though. But it was the 2-Door SUVs that were in question. Too similar to pickups with the rear bench removed. Same with cargo minivans, shipped without rear seats/side windows.

            That “article” mentions Americans paid more for pickups. OK. But we paid more for all pickups. Foreign, domestic, small, fullsize. And we paid more for cars too. And we paid more for motorcycles. And more for motorhomes. More for homes. More for groceries. More for fuel. More for clothes…

            That whole article was a big waste of your own time. And what grade did they get on that paper? A D? D-?

            My only point was the Tacoma is a Japanese built and imported CKD “kit”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DiM,
            If the shoe fits………..

            A cut and paste from an article you might find interesting, sort of intriguing;

            “The chatrooms and social media feeds are their hunting grounds. Lies, exaggerations and provocative statements are their weapons of choice.”

            http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/psychological-study-says-internet-trolls-show-all-the-signs-of-sadism/story-fnjwnhzf-1227065458355

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Yawn – if my sources are incorrect then there must be multiple scholarly articles and books written on the topic that prove your side of the debate…………..

            waiting……………………………….
            waiting……………………………….
            waiting……………………………….
            pch101 – if you are so clever why can’t you find a few published papers proving the contrary?
            waiting……………………………….
            waiting……………………………….
            waiting……………………………….

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    A minor point but an important one to me, is that the Tacoma is not kowtowing to the CAFE tests and adorning the front end with an absurdly low chin spoiler like all of the 1/2 ton. When you have to worry about scraping a curb in your pickup truck when parking, ‘ya done goofed.’

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I think it is self-evident that ALL manufacturers are going the “front air dam” route and styling the front ends accordingly, just like they went from defined-separate bumpers to the blended-style bumpers years ago.

      All the OEMs want to squeeze that extra franction of a mpg out of their vehicles. The days of the “brick” styling are gone for good.

      Even Peterbilt and Kenworth, Volvo and Freightliner have jumped on the styling and flaring bandwagon for their Cabs. And not all bad either.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I agree, across the board this air-damn-nonsense is just getting goofy.

      I had a rental Acadia a few months ago, an AWD version, and the bottom of the front end was LOWER than my Verano. It was harder to park without fear of damage. AWD is great, but the thing will be a plow.

      Utter crap.

      For the record, I consider the “first gen/pre facelift” Acadia to be a chiseled and extremely handsome vehicle. The facelifted version is a hideous amorphous blob.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      So take it off. It’s not illegal, nor is it difficult. You’ll just lose .5 MPG, and from what you’ve all said, it’s not like you’ll miss it.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Depends on the vehicle. Things like the Acadia, or the Freaking Malibu rental I had had, one piece bumper covers that precluded removal.

        Can’t speak for half tons.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Look at the Silverado, the center of the bumper itself already extends down almost as far as the air dam does. You can’t just unbolt it, reasonable clearance means a levelling kit. Typical GM design by committee with no clue what the product is for.

        On the F-150 the bumper proper is high and clear all the way across with the dam tucked down out of sight underneath. The ’15 has a much larger and more visible dam but the bumper itself still has clearance. Ford understands what a truck is for.

        Ram is about halfway between the two, and they have two different sizes of air dam, a short one on the Outdoorsman (which you’d probably remove anyway if you ever took it Outdoors but at least it doesn’t look as goofy) and an inch deeper variant on the other trims.

        Nissan and Toyota don’t have dams at all, and 17 or 18 highway on the sticker to match.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @gtemnykh – Toyota doesn’t need to. Their Corporate Average Fleet Economy ratings are high due to cars like the Prius. They could build a 4 mpg monster truck and still not have to worry about CAFE.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    That has got to be one of the ugliest vehicles in its class (admittedly, a small one in the U.S.) of the last 20 years.

    If you rebadged it one could successfully pass it off as a Mahindra.

  • avatar
    stuki

    With the Taco redesigned, will that mean the 4runner/Prado/FJ will be as well? I sure hope Toyota won’t simply walk away from US sales of the 4r and derivatives. Or that they become so far removed from their truck “siblings” that the off road upspeccers can no longer build to a common platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The FJ has been discontinued. As it turns out, having the off-road chops of a Wrangler is useless if you’ve got terrible rear and side visibility.

      The 4Runner broke off from the Taco some time ago, and follows its own update schedule independent of the Tacoma. But it has the distinction of being one of the last midsize BOF SUVs available on the US market after the Pathfinder and Explorer became fullsize CUVs.

      I can’t say anything about the Prado, since it’s not sold here.

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