Toyota to Boost Tacoma Production as Midsize Sales Lead Slips

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Toyota Tacoma entered the year in an enviable position. Soaking up nearly half of all sales in the growing midsize pickup segment, the venerable nameplate’s spot on top of podium seemed unshakable.

Eight months later, Toyota seems spooked. The Tacoma’s market share is eroding, down to 38 percent of the midsize segment in August as its competitors surge. To stay ahead, the automaker plans to send a bundle of cash south of the border to boost production, Automotive News reports.

Part of Toyota’s problem is a restricted flow of product from its Tijuana, Mexico assembly plant, which has the capacity to make about 100,000 Tacomas a year. That just won’t do, so Toyota will now invest $150 million to increase output to 160,000 units per year.

Tight inventories have put a damper on sales. By opening up the product faucet, Toyota hopes to power ahead of its biggest competitors — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

According to TTAC’s Timothy Cain, the midsize pickup market saw 39 percent year-over-year sales growth in August. The GM twins took 31 percent of the segment, while a revitalized Honda Ridgeline and resurgent Nissan Frontier also saw gains. The Tacoma saw its market share slip further as well as its sales, which were down 5 percent over the previous month.

A production boost is key to stay ahead of GM, as the General recently punted its commercial van production to Navistar in a bid to free up capacity for the Colorado and Canyon.

Toyota’s Tijuana plant reportedly runs 24/7 on weekdays, with two shifts on Saturday. A third shift was added last year. Tacomas also roll out of the automaker’s San Antonio, Texas plant, where a Saturday shift was added this year.

[Image: Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 15, 2016

    Having a S-10 there is nothing wrong with its design only the quality of the body hardware. The problem with the midsize field is that the manufacturers make more money on the fully loaded half ton pickups. Also that the manufacturers put little into updating and improving the midsize trucks which did respectable in sales regardless of their neglect (i.e. Ranger still managed to do fairly well in 2011 their last year). Toyota is selling the Tacoma on their past reputation and there are very few changes. Increased competition is a good thing for the consumer in that it forces the manufacturers to update aging products.

  • Matt3319 Matt3319 on Sep 15, 2016

    It's not the supply that's the problem, at least for me. I really wanted a Tacoma TRD Sport. Found several with in town. The dealers treated them, and 4Runners, like gold. So I bailed and bought a F-150 XLT Crew 4X4 at $14K off. Cheaper than what the damn Toyota dealers sell Tacomas. Yes resale isn't as good as the Taco. But it's decent.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 15, 2016

      matt3319 - I was cross shopping the Tacoma in 2010. The F150 I purchased ended up being considerably cheaper. Toyota - "That's the price, take it or leave it." it only works with hardcore fans or those fixated on only one product.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 15, 2016

    Not only is it "take it or leave it" but you should be grateful that a Toyota dealership is willing to take your money and sell you a Toyota because after all only Toyota makes the highest quality vehicles with the best resale value. You ungrateful rubes. That has been my experience when looking at new Toyotas so I have taken my business elsewhere. Maybe that is not true of all Toyota dealerships but around where I live that seems to be their mantra.

  • Marmot Marmot on Sep 16, 2016

    There is a Mexico produced Tacoma at my local dealership. The paint quality reminds me of the 1986 Chevy S10. The paint is not shiny. It is almost a matt finish. The interior stinks. It does not smell at all like a new car. In contrast, a nearby Sienna had a gorgeous paint job and smelled wonderful. They have this sad looking truck optioned up to $50,000, with the LED light bar alone listing for $1600.00.