By on August 16, 2016

2016 Toyota TacomaAmerica’s midsize pickup truck segment grew 19 percent in the first seven months of 2016. But as demand for midsize pickups expands throughout the remainder of 2016, it’s increasingly unlikely that the Toyota Tacoma will be able to make the most of the heightened interest.

Tacoma inventory has been tight for months, requiring Toyota to take full advantage of very specific modifications put in place at the San Antonio, Texas, and Baja California, Mexico, production lines a number of years ago.

No longer does a Tacoma roll off the San Antonio line every 65 seconds — it now takes only 60 seconds. There’s even a Saturday shift that drives the San Antonio plant up to 123-percent capacity.

“We could sell a lot more trucks right now,” David Crouch, vice president of administration and production control at the San Antonio plant, told Automotive News.

But there’s simply no capacity for more pickup truck production at the Texas facility, which also builds full-size Tundra trucks. Any acceleration in one corner of the plant would need to be matched by an equal rate of acceleration at all other potential bottlenecks, not to mention the speed at which suppliers — many are located right next door — can deliver parts to the Toyota plant.

The Toyota Tacoma is the dominant figure in America’s midsize pickup truck arena. Even in July, as Tacoma volume dipped 3 percent, and the Honda Ridgeline rose to a 95-month high, and Nissan reported a 73-percent Frontier increase, and GM’s twins added 2,864 sales, Toyota still produced greater than four-in-ten U.S. midsize truck sales.

The Tacoma was thoroughly refreshed for the 2016 model year. Sales in 2015 rose to an all-time record high.

[Image: Toyota]

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49 Comments on “Toyota Tacoma Production Is Maxed Out As The Midsize Pickup Truck Category Rapidly Expands...”


  • avatar
    frozenman

    Gee, I heard there was no market for over-priced midsize “lifesytle” trucks and full size are a waaay better deal. the internet says so after all!

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Forget the whole internet, the B&B have been saying this forever. Ad nauseum.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      frozenman,
      Midsize pickups are priced so high because they are restricted to being manufacture in the US. If they could be imported like cars and CUVs, SUVs you would have a different ball game.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        You double dipped here; you didn’t read the headline (if production is maxed out, the price is likely not too high), and you missed the sarcasm in frozenman’s comment. Good job.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Now this segment is booming, when ” experts” say it should not be. It will boom even more in the future

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Compare Tacoma sales to F-150, Silverado or Ram 1500.

      Answer your question?

      Just because midsize trucks are finally selling better than snow cones in January doesn’t mean they are close to putting a dent in American-brand full size trucks. The only full size losing sales to midsizers would be the pathetic Tundra.

      Toyota probably makes more off the Taco anyway, they should just put the Tundra out of its misery and devote the entire Texas plant to the Taco.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        What’s pathetic about the Tundra? American format Full Size with an American format V8. It was designed prior to the latest big3 focus on light truck mileage. And Toyota doesn’t really need to care, as they sell enough small cars for CAFE compliance.

        So it still has a truck style engine, a truck ratio rear end, and truck sized wheelwells. The latter preventing mud, snow and slush from clogging them up. And making lifts and big tires easier. Even if all of that, does come at the cost of some mileage.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          1. It’s a Toyota
          2. It’s not a Ford
          3. It’s not a Honda

          That’s QED from some people’s perspective.

          More objectively, it’s a solid and capable truck that could use some updating. When the current generation landed in 2007 or whatever, it was competitive but it is a fast moving field with some irrationally fierce brand loyalties.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Right on stuki. Tundra’s “outdatedness” is actually what makes it more useful and capable in many situatiuons. Toyota has Prius drivers to atone for the Tundras’s lack of weenie aero spoilers and standard 4.30 rear end. John has some sort of weird inexplicable animosity towards the Tundra. Rock solid V8s and transmissions, no known systemic weak points or reliability issues anywhere else on the truck, best resale among half tons.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        Many thanks for your insightful “wisdom” sensei :P

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yup the B&B said quite loudly no one would buy a midsizer tickling $40K (or beyond) sticker because you could buy a fullsizer for less when you factor the cash on the hood.

      Turns out industry product planner are smarter than the B&B.

      They also predicted no one would buy a subcompact SUV/CUV too.

  • avatar

    Toyota does very well with the Tacoma. Production running at maximum, presents a good opportunity for dealers to increase their profits when selling a Tacoma.

    The Tacoma appeals to the individual that is seeking a genuine pick up feel in a mid size format, contrary to some other mid size pick ups that come across as a utility with a pick up bed.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      AGR,
      Maybe Toyota could augment Tacoma numbers with some other pickups. It’s a pity that the only competitive pickups are forced to be manufactured locally.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Being “forced” to manufacture F-150s/Silverado/Rams locally doesn’t seem to be hurting their sales.

        Toyota can and does manufacture the Tacoma outside of the US (Mexico). Are those trucks cheaper than Texas-built trucks? Not for the consumer.

        But, facts don’t matter. Nothing does that doesn’t support your assumptions.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Toyota could easily bring Thai produced midsized trucks into the US, if it wasn’t for the totalitarian regime we suffer under banning them from doing so.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Who says Toyota isn’t already at full capacity in Thailand too? Toyota loves to operate that way. It also cuts down on rebates, increases resale value, etc. There’s really no pressing need to sell any more Tacomas. Diminishing returns and whatnot.

            The Hilux would have to be redesigned for tougher US crash standards and emissions.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Stuki,
            Right about that and their would be a definite decrease in prices.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If you want a truck with real off-road ability, modest-but-significant towing & hauling capabilities, and styling obviously intended to provide the appearance of an active outdoors lifestyle, this is your rig. Doesn’t hurt that they depreciate slowly. These are very popular in my area and I admit that I could use a vehicle like this although would probably go for the similarly priced 4Runner instead.

    I really don’t think I’d enjoy the daily drive in it, though. Reviews suggest the new 3.5 V6 & 6 spd auto combo is gutless, unresponsive, and robbed of torque compared to the old 4.0V6 it replaced, yet still gets poor fuel economy. Anyone here driven both it and the old 4.0V6?

    • 0 avatar
      BatmanBrandon

      I’ve driven both, I wouldn’t buy one based off the seating position alone, but the older truck is superior in my opinion based on drivetrain alone. The new truck doesn’t feel gutless, but it certainly feels like it’s supposed to be delivering far better economy than it gets. The only current midsize I haven’t gotten a chance to drive yet is the new Ridgeline, which is at the top of my list tied with an Outback. I don’t need a truck, but I need something comfortable most of the time and capable of handling bicycles and weekend projects. My roommate swears by her 2016 Tacoma, and I swear I can’t wait to move out and buy a house…

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      if only Toyota installed the 4Runner’s 270hp variant of the 4.0L 1GR motor into the Tacoma… why didn’t they?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        EPA MPG ratings? The new Tacoma is rated about 10% better than its predecessor, a distinction that may be important in the regulatory world even if it doesn’t translate to the real one.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      I have experience driving only the 2016 V6 Double/Crew Cab with the 6 speed manual. I’ve driven it about 4k miles, in-town about 30% and highway about 70%. So far, I don’t have any complaints. The 6 speed manual is easy to use. The power is sufficient to pull my ~3500lbs trailer (i.e. 65MPH can be maintained easily in the mountains of Vermont). The 4WD has gotten me out of a couple mud holes without trouble. I’ve used it frequently to drop off and pick up the kids at summer school activities (on a side note, I received more compliments on it, at the school, than I did on my 2SS RS Camaro…this surprised me). It is a very good machine.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Funky what kind of MPG are you seeing?

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          With the trailer I am getting around 12.5 to 13.5 MPG. Without the trailer, I think I recall the average is about 20 to 21 MPG, but I might not remember correctly the “without trailer” number (because what I recall for mixed driving without the trailer is much higher than what I’d expect given that the truck is rated at 21 MPG on the highway). Tonight I will have somebody check my records to confirm the “without trailer” number (since the Tacoma is not with me at the moment I don’t have immediate access to my MPG records). I do recall for sure that the number is 12.5 to 13.5 with the trailer.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Just pent-up demand.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Toy truck sells well in a credit glut with 2.00 gas.

    Imagine that.

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      Eh, no.

      If you want a late model pickup truck and don’t have a need for an F150 sized behemoth , the Tacoma is probably as good as it gets. Way resale values are in some places you might be paying more for a lightly used one then new.

      • 0 avatar
        Coopdeville

        +1

        $30k for a used 2012 4×4 crew cab with 58k miles or $34k for brand new one? The choice is yours.

        There’s one large enough dealer near me that has 0 new Tacos in stock. None.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Looks like Section 179 bonus depreciation deduction (Hummer Loophole) has finally been shrunk enough to stop encouraging people into 6,000+ lb GVWR for tax reasons. Couple that with how few have been produced over the past decade, so there’s no supply of used for weekend civilian purposes, there’s demand.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Because not everyone wants a giant truck, and there are so few options, people are even willing to pay a premium for something smaller like a Tacoma.

    I still think there’s a giant opening for a company like Hyundai to make an El Camino/Ranchero type vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I think your argument always comes back to “what can a small truck do that a minivan can’t?” Or that a brief rental of a real pickup can’t?

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Have you even seen the story on top of this one? About the Santa Cruz?

      And @Kenmore, what is the fascination with minivans? They are bloated monstrosities good for hauling lots of people. Something almost nobody who buys a Tacoma is looking for.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        No, I hadn’t seen it yet, but I’ve been saying this same thing for a while, so glad a car maker finally rolled the dice on it.

        Seemed a no brainer to me.

        I knew the Big 3 would not want to do it as they would never want to cannibalize their big profits on large trucks. it had to be a brand like Hyundai that doesn’t sell big trucks.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    sure you could sell more with a more competitive price tag.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well, if midsize truck production has maxed out, then allow imports to come into the US without any import tariffs. This will open up a whole new world for the US pickup consumer.

    Imagine being able to get your hands on a V8 turbo diesel midsize 76 Series pickup, or all of the other products available, down the track an AMG Mercedes Benz midsize pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The 76 Series pickup is a fullsize, but its biggest obstacle for import would be US safety and emissions regs. Australia and Africa are the perfect markets for it though. I’m not sure what to think of the AMG Merc monstrosity.

      “…then allow imports to come into the US without any import tariffs”

      This absurdly assumes many or any new foreign pickup makers would want to come to the US, or return, or sell their pickups next to their cars, SUVs, etc.

      “…This will open up a whole new world for the US pickup consumer”

      Not anymore than importing all the world’s missing cars, to the US market. Name a missing car or group/make of cars that would remotely impact the US car market??

  • avatar
    zip94513

    They’re great vehicles, last forever, and dependable as they get. But at $30K or more, I’ll just rent a truck when needed and buy what I want for less.

  • avatar
    sjd

    I had a 2013 Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab and loved it. I had it for 2 years and only had to part with it since I started commuting but I really regret selling it. It drove well, was reliable and the resale was stellar (I got more than I owed when I sold it) It also felt similar in size to the 1994 F-150 it replaced. The size of the new F-150 (any full size really) is insane so I think there are a lot of us who don’t want a giant truck.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      What’s the real difference in size, ’94 F-150 to current? Dollars to donuts, Toyota pickups grew more on that time frame. Most everything has grown in size, but fullsize pickups have always been humongous, or just right, depending on your perspective. With as many fullsize pickupas they sell, there can’t be that many unhappy owners.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Exactly. Full-size pickups were 78-80″ wide then, they’re 78-80″ wide now. They’ve been this way since the early ’60s. The beds were 6.5′ and 8′ then, now they’re still that, with the addition of a 5.5′ option. The wheelbase of an extended cab/6.5′ bed model was either side of 140″, depending on mfgr., and now it’s only slightly longer due to an increase in cab length (139″ vs. 145″ for Fords, 139″ vs. 140″ for Rams, 142″ vs. 143.5″ for GMs).

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @sjd,
      They may start getting smaller, much more useable.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      It may have felt similar in size, but if you do a fair comparison between models, a ’94 F-150 will still be closer to a new F-150 than any Tacoma in width, length, wheelbase, and size of box.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I wonder if Toyota regrets closing NUMMI where they used to make Tacomas like crazy.

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