Cross-border Agreement: Midsize Truck Buyers on Both Sides of the 49th Parallel Seem Equally Enamored With One Model

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
cross border agreement midsize truck buyers on both sides of the 49th parallel seem

One country waves the stars and stripes; the other, a big, red maple leaf. One calls those rain catchment thingies gutters, the other (or at least parts of it) insists on calling them eavestroughs. The differences are vast.

Despite their cultural and regulatory peculiarities, both Americans and Canadians seem to agree that the Toyota Tacoma‘s sales should only ever go in an upward direction. So far this year, buyers on both sides of the border provided nearly identical sales growth for the midsize pickup.

It’s a good thing Toyota worked out its production constraints.

Despite two fewer selling days in April, Tacoma volume rose 10.6 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. That’s the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. Over the first four months of 2018, Tacoma sales are up 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sadly, we don’t have the data to contrast its performance with the Chevrolet Colorado, the segment’s second best-selling midsizer. (Before it moved to quarterly sales reporting, GM reported that Colorado sales rose 29.1 percent, year to date, in the first three months of 2018.)

The story north of the border is much the same. Nearly identical, actually. In Canada, Tacoma sales rose 11.6 percent, year over year, in April. Year to date, Tacoma volume rose 20.5 percent over the same period in 2017. It seems the two countries formed a pact.

Helping Toyota in its quest to peddle as many Tacomas as possible are steps taken in the past couple of years to boost production at two sites. The automaker added a Saturday shift at its San Antonio, Texas assembly plant in 2016, bolstering existing efforts to lower assembly cycle times. There’s three shifts on the go at its Tijuana facility.

Last year, Toyota announced its proposed Guanajuato, Mexico facility would not produce the Corolla, as planned, but will instead assemble the Tacoma. The compact sedan, already in production in both Ontario and Mississippi, will set up shop at a joint Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Tacoma production at the new Mexican plant should kick off in 2020.

As for the vehicle itself, it seems Toyota doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. The 2019 model year shouldn’t bring any major changes for the Tacoma, though TRD Pro buyers gain the option of adding a snorkel to their off-road spec pickup.

[Images: Toyota]

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6 of 19 comments
  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on May 04, 2018

    Great photo for showing the benefits of a snorkel. As @MR2turbo4evr pointed out, the Atkinson cycle engine in the Tacoma has garnered a lot of complaints. I personally am interested in the Colorado diesel crew 4x4. If Toyota were to offer a better engine, I'd be interested but not as it stands.

    • See 2 previous
    • TFLorida1 TFLorida1 on May 11, 2018

      @Lou_BC I own a 2017 Chevy Colorado with the 2.8 Duramax diesel engine. I’m averaging 26 mpg highway/city and have been averaging 31.6 mpg on the highway. When you choose the diesel engine the truck comes with an exhaust brake, locking rear differential, and trailer braking, and maximum towing is 7,600 pounds. It’s a great truck.

  • Trucky McTruckface Trucky McTruckface on May 04, 2018

    I really liked this truck when it 2005. Then Toyota left it unchanged for a decade, at which point they decided to ruin it by swapping out the 4.0L for that stupid Atkinson cycle 3.5 whose MPG gains are likely offset by having to rev the p*ss out of it to make up for it's low-end gutlessness. It'd be one thing if the truck was a high-incentive, discount special, but no. The transaction prices and resales values are absurd on these. There was a lot of press at introduction about the rear drum brakes on this thing, but the real cheap out for me is the lack of a driver's seat height adjustment. That's a deal breaker on a vehicle that costs less than $20,000, let alone one that you'll rarely find on a dealer lot under $30k. You'd think with the money Toyota saved by keeping the same platform, they could have invested it elsewhere in the truck, on things like this, or smart key access that works on both sides of the vehicle, not just the driver's side. Toyota really has no shame in selling chintzy, cheap, outdated garbage like this. Their products are offensive to anyone who cross shops or wants something more than an ugly penalty box. They're capable of much better, so it continues to annoy me that they're able to still get away with coasting on their reputation while being even worse than Ford at reinvesting in their product lines.

    • Mandalorian Mandalorian on May 05, 2018

      You think this is bad? The Sequoia is far worse. It needed an update about a decade ago.

  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
  • Master Baiter "I like the Earth."The idea that modern combustion engines are incompatible with the ongoing survival of the Earth, or of humanity, is breathtakingly stupid. Climate alarmism is akin to a religion--one to which I do not subscribe.
  • Skippity Key takeaways.Toyota is run by competent businessmen.Art doesn’t like Toyota.